Currently viewing the tag: "Goldenrod Meadow"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Who can it be now?
Location:  meadow garden, Outer Banks, North Carolina
October 2, 2010 1:28 pm
Found this interesting caterpillar eating my goldenrod flowers, Solidago canadensis. Can you identify, please?
Signature:  seedmoney

Might this be The Asteroid???

Dear seedmoney,
We believe this must be the highly variable Goldenrod Hooded Owlet Caterpillar,
Cucullia asteroides, which we tentatively identified on BugGuide.  Perhaps it is just the angle of view of your photograph, but the head on your caterpillar looks very small compared to the heads of the Hooded Owlet Caterpillars posted to BugGuideBugGuide has no images of caterpillars of the Goldenrod Hooded Owlet with such minimal markings, and the pink and green color reminds us of ice cream indicating that it must be edible.  Perhaps David Gracer will provide a comment.

Also called The Asteroid, the Goldenrod Hooded Owlet Caterpillar just sent us off careening in another direction.  We are going to have to contact Dr. Krupp from the Griffith Observatory to get his take on a Caterpillar named for an astronomical body.  We are going to pitch a book collaboration with Dr. Krupp, a book called Insects and other Heavenly Bodies, and Daniel hopes Dr. Krupp might consider the proposal.  Daniel respects many people in the world, but few more than Dr. Krupp, the archeoastronomer who has been the Director of the Griffith Observatory since 1974 or 1796 or so.  He was the director during the 1990s when Lisa Anne Auerbach and Daniel were the photography staff at the Griffith Observatory and they self published The Casual Observer, the legendary notorious zine that is only available in the collections of two museums, The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City and the venerable and wildly popular Griffith Observatory, arguably the most historic structure and publicly recognizable landmark in the entire city of Los Angeles.  The Griffith Observatory has appeared in numerous movies, including Rebel Without A Cause, Earth Girls are Easy, The End of Violence, Devil in a Blue Dress, and the not so authorized Flesh Gordon (Disclaimer: This is a PG rated movie trailer to an adult themed film with comedic artistic merit).

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Huge great Golden Digger Wasp
Location:  Fairfield, Maine USA
August 23, 2010 11:53 am
Dear Bugman, the other day I was going to shoot a few Argiope aurantia we have living in the garden when I hear and saw this enormous orange black and yellow blur zipping around. I pursued it and saw it was a wasp like none I’d ever seen. It was probably approaching at least 3” long and was also quite stout. Although initially, I wanted to stay a safe distance away, it soon became clear it was not concerned with me. It would even stop, cock its head up toward me and then carry on feeding on nectar from the Goldenrod. It was hard to follow it around closely enough to get pictures because it was actually quite shy. I’ve seen it on 3 different days, so far, and hope to see it again.
Are they very solitary wasps? I feel that I keep seeing the same one, in the same area of the gardens…
Thank you,
James R

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Hi James,
The Great Golden Digger Wasp,
Sphex ichneumoneus, is a solitary wasp that provisions its nest with paralyzed katydids and crickets to feed its young.  Some solitary wasps like Cicada Killers and Sand Wasps nest in colonies, but we have never heard of colonial behavior in the Great Golden Digger Wasp.

Thank you Daniel,
Unfortunately, since the last time, I have not seen it again.
It has been getting cold in the evenings; do they winter over, or just die each tear?

Hi again James,
Adults do not overwinter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Feeding on Goldenrod
Location:  Southern New York State
August 16, 2010 4:18 pm
Saw this beautiful bug feeding on goldenrod in early August. It is about 1/2” long and unfurled gray wings under the colorful shell and flew short distances when disturbed. Also the unidentified wasps were busy at work. Cicada killer?

Blue Winged Wasp

HI Don,
The image of yours that we are not posting is an Ailanthus Webworm Moth, a species we have posted several times in recent weeks.  We also just recently posted an image of a Digger Wasp or Blue Winged Wasp,
Scolia dubia, but it was photographed in a tupperware, not in its natural environment like your lovely photo.  Like many wasps, the adult Blue Winged Wasp feeds on nectar while the larvae are predatory.  Since they are not terribly mobile, the female wasp provisions for her brood.  In the case of the Blue Winged Wasp, the female locates and stings to paralyze the grubs of the Green June Beetle and the Japanese Beetle.  According to BugGuide:  “Males and females have a courtship dance, flying close to the ground in a figure-8 or S pattern. Females burrow into ground in search of grubs, especially those of the Green June Beetle, Cotinis, and the Japanese Beetle. She stings it and often burrows farther down, then constructs a cell and lays an egg on the host. Larva pupates and overwinters in a cocoon within the body of the host. One generation per year in North, more in South.”  According to Mom, any creature that preys upon Japanese Beetles is aces in her garden.

Fantastic!  My daughter and I love your site.  Thanks a million.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Location:  near Casper, WY
August 2, 2010 3:22 pm
Hi Lisa Anne and Daniel,
When I photographed this creature on goldenrod 8/1/10, I thought I was looking at a Pelecinid. Now I don’t think so, I have no idea what it is. Can you identify it?
Am looking forward to your book.
Thanks much,

Crown of Thorns Wasp

Hi Dwaine,
This is a new one for us.  You are correct that it is NOT a Pelecinid.  Our initial impulse was perhaps an Ichneumon, but the antennae and other morphological features are just plain wrong, but we were certain, based on that ovipositor, that it must be a parasitic Hymenopteran.  We quickly located the Crown of Thorns Wasp,
Megischus bicolor, within the family Stephanidae on BugGuide which indicates they are “Parasitoids of beetles and/or wasps.

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Identify a Wasp with a white face?
Location:  Fairfield, Maine
August 3, 2010 7:45 pm
I found this on some goldenrod along with dozens of paper wasps. I seemed very camera shy or very busy, so I was only able to get this one picture. I looked through a lot of the potter wasps but did not find anything with the same markings and colors. Is this even a wasp at all?
James R

Unknown Syrphid Fly

Hi James,
This is not a wasp, but a fly that mimics a wasp.  We suspect it is in the family Syrphidae, the members of which are called Flower Flies or Hover Flies.  We are posting your photo as unidentified until we get an actual species or at least genus name.  Perhaps our readers can assist us.

Correction thanks to Karl
August 4, 2010
This is a Thick-headed Fly [see BugGuide] (Conopidae), so named because of their relatively large heads. According to the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America “They are mostly parasites of adult solitary bees, and sometimes wasps. The female fly assaults the host in midair, often forcing it to the ground and ramming an egg between the victim’s abdominal segments before releasing it.”  I believe the genus is either Physocephala or Phyoconops, the difference apparently being that in Physocephala the hind femur is somewhat swollen at the base, whereas in Physoconops it is not. This feature is not always easy to distinguish but the femurs do appear slightly swollen in this individual. There are many very similar looking species but based on color patterns of the face, legs, wings and abdomen, I think this may be Physocephala marginata. Regards. Karl

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Small orange and black bug sucking on nectar of goldenrod
October 6, 2009
Hi. I came across this bug at my home in Sayville, New York. There were many individuals sucking the nectar from some goldenrod flower heads. I have never seen this bug before. What is this?
Derek Rogers
Sayville, New York

March Flies

March Flies

Hi Derek,
These are March Flies in the family Bibionidae.  We believe they are Dilophus spinipes, a species represented on BugGuide with several images taken  in New York a few days ago.  Those specimens were also pictured feeding on yellow flowers.  For some reason, we are unable to access any additional information on BugGuide this morning.  March Flies often appear in a very small window of time, and they appear in great numbers.  The infamous Love Bugs from the Southern States are a prime example.

March Fly

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