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2 1/2″ Fly with Large Blue Eyes
May 13, 2010
This bug was on our driveway and I thought it was dying. It was huge (2 1/2″ long) and I went to get my camera so I could look it up in my bug book. It was still there and I was able to get one picture. The eyes were very blue. When I moved it to get a picture straight on of it’s eyes it flew away! I was so disappointed. Obviously it wasn’t dying, but possibly just hatched? Please tell me what it is if you can. I’ve never seen anything like it and I take a lot of pictures of bugs, birds, etc. in our yard.
Boca Raton, FL

Greenhead Horse Fly

Hi Sandi,
This is one impressive Horse Fly, but we do not know the species.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck researching than we have had.

Thanks for your quick response once again!  All I can say is that boy must be on steroids!!!  He was really large for a fly.

Eric Eaton identifies Greenhead Horse Fly
Hi, Daniel!  Hope you had a great trip to see mom for Mother’s Day 🙂
The horse fly is no doubt the “Greenhead,” Tabanus americanus.  Would not want to be bitten by that one!

Thanks Eric,
According to BugGuide, this is the Earth’s largest Tabanid.

Unknown Colorful Beetle In Arizona
May 13, 2010
I found the following bug crawling on the leaves of a sunflower in my school garden today (May 13, 2010). The bug is red, black and yellow, and I have searched the internet and can’t find it. It had two antenna and what looked like a downward-turned horn (very skinny). It stood still while we took a picture of it, then flew to a nearby tree. The weather was sunny.
Mr. Bane’s Class
Glendale, AZ

Yellow Bellied Bee Assassin

Dear Mr. Bane’s Class,
Though it looks like a beetle, this is a True Bug.  Beetles have complete metamorphosis and chewing mouth parts. True Bugs have incomplete metamorphosis and piercing mouth parts.  More specifically, this is an Assassin Bug in the family Reduviidae.  It is known as a Bee Assassin in the genus Apiomeris, and though the under belly is not visible, we believe it to be a Yellow Bellied Bee Assassin, Apiomerus flaviventris which we identified on BugGuide.  Another possibility presented on BugGuide is that this might be a Bee Assassin, Apiomerus spissipes which also lives in Arizona.  We believe it is the former species because of the yellow coloration as the latter appears to have more white in its markings.

What’s this grasshopper from Thailand?
May 12, 2010
On a hike through one of the many national parks in Thailand, i came across this little fellow. I was captivated by his immaculate colours. I stayed and observed him for quite some time and it didn’t seem to bother him at all! I’d like to know what genus/species (if possible) this grasshopper is. I’m actually considering getting a tattoo of him too! So i’d like to do a bit of background info on him. Thanks!
Southern province, Thailand.

Ghost Grasshopper

Hi Heather,
We immediately recognized your grasshopper as a member of the family Pyrgomorphidae or Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers.  Most of the photos we have received come from South Africa and Madagascar, and we did locate a website called the Flying Kiwi that pictures a specimen from Cambodia that looks remarkably like your specimen.  You need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.  It is identified as a Ghost Grasshopper in Thailand or the Northern Spotted Grasshopper in Cambodia, but there is no scientific name.  Here is what the website states:  “This is a northern spotted grasshopper, which I photographed at night along the trail to Chambok waterfall.   In Thailand it’s called a ghost grasshopper.
The bright colors are a warning that the grasshopper is chemically protected, so I’m surprised that it wasn’t active during the daytime.   I saw a very similar grasshopper during the daytime in Indonesia, though it lacked the white and red coloration on the head, and its legs were blue rather than black.  The northern spotted grasshopper exudes a toxic foam when it’s attacked, which apparently is a good way of keeping tarantulas and other large spiders at bay.  It’s a type of locust, and at times it can occur in numbers large enough to cause a significant amount of destruction.   It’s also fairly indiscriminate in the crops it will chew through.   Unlike other locusts, they’re no good for people to eat, though their attractive appearance probably does give some consolation to the people who are starving to death.
”  There is also a link to another similar looking grasshopper from Bali on the Flying Kiwi website.  The Thai Bugs website identifies the Ghost Grasshopper as Aularches miliaris.  It is also pictured on the Siam Insect Zoo website.  This species appears to be highly variable.  We have read reports of severe toxic reactions occurring if Toxic Milkweed Grasshoppers are ingested.

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Beautiful Butterfly
May 11, 2010
My 4 year old son and I found and caught this guy in my backyard. I’ve never seen a butterfly with these colors and markings before. He seemed to be having trouble flying, so we gently scooped him up and moved him onto a potted plant, where he’s been content to hang out for hours now. We’re in northern Florida near wetlands (St. John’s River). Can you help us identify?
Curious Dad
Orange Park, FL

Great Purple Hairstreak

Dear Curious Dad,
Though the Great Purple Hairstreak, Atlides halesus, ranges as far north as New York, Oregon and Illinois, according to BugGuide, it only breeds in the Southern states.  Most of our reports come from Florida, though we have also gotten photos from Texas.  The presence of the iridescent blue patch on the underside of the forewing identifies this as a male, though in two of your images, that patch is not visible.

Galapagos Carpenter Bee
May 11, 2010
When I saw your posts about the Valley Carpenter Bee and the similar carpenter bee from Guam, I knew you’d want to see this Galapagos Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa darwinii). My husband Tom captured the last moments of this male carpenter bee being eaten by a lava lizard! The Galapagos Carpenter Bees are dimorphic also, with black females and golden brown males. Our guide said we were very lucky to see the males, since they don’t stick around very long. This photo was taken on January 23, 2010.
Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos Carpenter Bee eaten by Lava Lizard

Dear Mary,
What an awesome Food Chain image you have submitted.  It is also nice to get an image of a species closely related to our Southern California Valley Carpenter Bee.  The males have a much shorter life span than the females because the females may take up to several months to gather enough pollen to provision a nest for approximately six offspring.