From the monthly archives: "June 2008"

What is it?
Hi Bugman,
I snapped these pictures this morning (Mt. Laurel, NJ). Never saw this one before, and have no idea what it is. Thanks,

hi Tim,
We fired a quick incorrect response to you that this was a Dobsonfly, when in fact it is a Fishfly. Fishflies have comblike antennae that distinguish them from Dobsonflies that have beaded antennae.

What is this bug???
Good day bugman,
My husband & I were out walking my dog the other night when this bug just crash landed, almost at my husbands feet. We live in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. Thankfully, I always carry my camera with me and, naturally had to get down on the ground (in the middle of the bridge) to get pictures of this strange creature. We’ve never seen one quite like this. He (or she) was approximately 2 1⁄2” to 3” long from the back end to the tips of the antennae. He (or she) stayed in it’s place long enough for me to get my pictures, only moving the wings when large vehicles drove by (thankfully because I really am a coward and can take pictures as long as it doesn’t decide to fly at me – yikes!)
Debi Duff

Hi Debi,
Your creature is a male Dobsonfly. We will be posting your letter with another that arrived today of a female Dobsonfly. Dobsonflies exhibit marked sexual dimorphism, with males having long pointed mandibles.

Female Dobsonfly
(06/30/2008) Large bug
Could you give me some help identifying this insect? This large one with several other smaller ones appeared on our front porch recently. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks…
Patrick Buckland

Hi Patrick,
We are posting your photo along with a photo of a male Dobsonfly that arrived today. Also, there is a photo of a similar looking Fishfly as comparison.

Camera Shy Butterfly
Hi Bugman,
Thank you for identifying my moth for me. I recently read a one of your postings that said you were having trouble photographing the elusive Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly. I happened to see about 20 of them on the shoreline of Lake Berkley in Tennessee. These big beauties wouldn’t leave me alone. They kept landing on my shirt and flying into my face while I was trying to fish. One of them caught me off gaurd and "buzzed my tower," which led to me smacking myself in the face and losing my sunglasses into the lake! I didn’t catch any fish, but I did get some nice photos. These butterflies seem to love the swampy shoreline. I tried to get as many into one shot as I could, but the best I could do was four (second photo). Anyway, just thought you might enjoy the pictures.
Adam in Tennessee

Hi Adam,
Thank you so much for sending us your gorgeous photos and wonderful account of the experience. These are Zebra Swallowtails, not Tiger Swallowtails. The Puddling behavior you witnessed is something certain male butterflies do shortly after emerging from the chrysalis. They are thought to injest necessary minerals while Puddling.

Updated (07/02/2008) (10/15/2005) amazonian caterpillar
I spotted this beautiful caterpillar during a trip to the Mamirauá reserve in the Amazon rainforest. I understand there are a few species that present this snake mimicking behavior, but I haven’t found the right match for this one yet. Can you help? Thanks and congratulations on your website.
Mexico City

Hola Pablo,
Wow, your photo is awesome. Sadly we can’t identify this amazing mimic. Please update us if you ever identify it.

Hello Daniel,
I did some more research here and came across an amazing book on camouflage, mimetism and the like by Roger Caillois. The book’s name is Medusa and Company. He describes four species with similar behavior, of these only one lives in the Amazon, and the position this one adopts surely fits the description. The name is Leucorampha Ornatus (or ornata). I could only find a few pages on the web referring to this species, all in french or italian.
all the best

Update: (07/02/2008)
Snake Mimic- 10/15/2005 Amazonian caterpillar
I’ve been researching bugs for my library’s summer reading program, and your website has been very interesting to me! I’ve enjoyed seeing all the wonderful photos and even identifying some of the caterpillars in my area. I think I can identify the photo of the Amazonian caterpillar in fact, it is part of an upcoming story time! This looks like a Hemeroplanes triptolemus, which mimics a snake by rolling onto its back and “flaring” the area around the head to scare off would-be predators. There are several websites with good pictures of this caterpillar, as well as the moth it becomes (some type of Sphinx). Thanks for your wonderful website!

Hi Kim,
Thanks for the information. We checked and found images of the caterpillar and moth on Bill Oehlke’s excellent website. We beleive you are correct. The photo submitted to us three years ago looks even more snakelike than the ones on Bill Oehlke’s site.

Beetle from Missouri Ozarks area
Dear Bugman,
Could you help me identify this beautiful beetle that I found on my deck last night? While browsing your site (which I love by the way) I noticed it looked like the Hercules beetles you show but without the horn. Is it a female maybe? Also I would like to know if it flies. Whatever help you can give would be appreciated. By the way, it’s not dead, but just sitting and posing prettily for the pictures. I just released it this morning after showing the kids what it looked like and after 2 hours it still hasn’t left my deck railing. Thank you

Hi Dawn,
You are absolutely correct. This is a female Eastern Hercules Beetle, Dynastes tityus. Both males and females fly.

cecropia and others
Hi! A couple of years ago I sent you pictures of my Cecropia project — I raised a bunch of caterpillars and was rewarded with beautiful moths the next spring. Last year I was fortunate enough to get more caterpillars, and I wanted to share some images of the moths. Very serendipitously, as you’ve made them your bug of the month for July. For your bug love page, here’s images of Red Milkweed Beetles (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus) and Scarlet and Green Leafhoppers (Graphocephala coccinea) — one with the two leafhoppers getting advice from the beetle! I’ve included a pic of a Nessus Sphinx (Amphion floridensis) that I took last year in my back yard. According to the folks at Butterflies and Moths of North America ( ) it’s a first report from MN, so that’s pretty exciting. I know it’s not a great pic but I thought you might like to see it 🙂 Lastly is a pic of what I think is Labidomera clivicollis, Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle. What do you think? Thanks as always for a great site

hi Henry,
While we applaud your enthusiasm and are impressed with the volume if imagery you sent our way, we have to limit our postings. We are thrilled to post your mating Candystriped Leafhoppers and a cropped version of the three Cecropia Moths on your window screen, awaiting an opportunity to venture into the night.