From the monthly archives: "February 2008"

Great peacock moth caterpillar
Hello! I met this chubby fluorescent chap with really bright blue specks on a hillside path near Grenoble, in the French Alps, last August. I am from England and therefore am not used to large, alien-looking insects, so was very excited. I identified it as a great peacock moth caterpillar, the largest European moth. I just wanted to share it with your site’s caterpillar fans. Thank you!
Emilie Pavey, Grenoble

Hi Emilie,
Thanks for sending us your wonderful image of the Great Peacock Moth Caterpillar, Saturnia pyri. We cropped your credit card out of the photo. While we agree it was a good indication of scale, which we generally appreciate, we felt the card distracted from the beauty of the caterpillar. Our readership might want to know that this Great Peacock Moth Caterpillar was longer than a standard Visa card. While researching the web, we discovered an image of this species painted by Vincent van Gogh.

What is This Moth? Hello, we found this beautiful emerald green moth outside our shop door yesterday morning. Have never seen anything like it. Can you tell us what kind of moth it is? Thanks,
We live in Northern, California East of Red Bluff.

Hi Charles,
The Pacific Green Sphinx, Arctonotus lucidus, also known as the Bear Sphinx, is sure a lovely moth. Like many moths, it is attracted to lights at night.

Pataeta carbo
Hi guys,
Thought you might like this pic to add to your database. The moth is about 3/4" long and the caterpillar feeds on eucalyptus. It has the appearance of Black Velvet up close. Here is a link to the full info. Taken on the window ledge outside my work on the Gold Coast, Queensland. 29th February 2008. regards,
Trevor Jinks

Hi Trevor,
Thanks for continuing to keep our site replenished with such a constant supply of “new to us” Australian insects. The Australian Moths page also indicates that the caterpillars of Pataeta carbo feed on gum or eucalyptus trees.

help ID’ing moth
Good morning …this moth was out in a field and hoping you can help ID it. Thanks much!

Hi Lorri,
Your moth is a Pearly Wood Nymph, Eudryas unio. According to BugGuide, the Pearly Wood Nymph can be distinguised from the Beautiful Wood Nymph, Eudryas grata, which is “larger than Pearly Wood-Nymph ( E. unio ), and the dark band along outer margin of forewing is smoothly curved on the inside, not scalloped as in E. unio.” Your moth has the scalloped edges. We have received numerous letters commenting on the resemblance of this moth to bird droppings, obviously a protective coloration.

whats this moth?
i found this moth on my ceiling in my room. i live in naples, florida, and have never seen any moth like this before. i have never seen a moth with such a weird fluffy butt?? It also has a pointy front end. It kind of leads me to think this moth might be of some sort of danger, but I can’t find it anywhere online and don’t know where to start when trying to name the fluffy balls??? Thanks for your time!!!
Jessica Rainey

Hi Jessica,
The Melonworm Moth, Diaphania hyalinata, which is found in the southern states, is considered a pest of melons, cucumbers and related plants. It is the caterpillar and not the moth that does the damage.

What Kind of Spider is This?
I friend has this spider in his house in LA, California, see attachment. What kind is this, it looks to be over 2″ in length.
Craig Baugher

(03/01/2008) i officially have the creeps
this photo has given me the willies, big-time: could it be real? enhanced? photoshopped? just tell me it’s nowhere in north america.

Hi Craig and Nick,
Interestingly, you both sent us the same photo for identification. This is a female Giant Crab Spider in the family Sparassidae, probably the genus Olios. Nice image of the maternal behavior. We have read that the mother spider shares prey with her spiderlings. We are so intrigued with this image, and also amused that two different people requested the identification, so we decided to make it our Bug of the Month for March. By the way Nick, Craig says it was photographed in Los Angeles. Giant Crab Spiders in the genus Olios are shy, nocturnal hunters and they are harmless. They will actually help rid a home of cockroaches.