From the monthly archives: "October 2011"

This one ate all the leaves on my pear tree
Location: Louisiana
October 27, 2011 3:56 pm
I had a bug problem last year and it is coming back. And I can’t find out what it is to deal with it. I’ve never had anything like this before. I hope you can help.
Signature: Michael

Texas Bow-Legged Bug

Dear Michael,
We do not believe this Broad Headed Bug is the pear tree defoliator.  We suspect your species might be the Texas Bow-Legged Bug,
Hyalymenus tarsatus, based on images posted to BugGuide which states:  “Often be seen feeding on a variety of plants, especially euphorbias and seed pods of legumes and milkweeds.”  Since Broad Headed Bugs have piercing and sucking mouthparts, they would not be capable of eating leaves. 

One eyed caterpillar
Location: Fort Myers Florida
October 30, 2011 4:58 pm
I found this caterpillar after I carried some dead Plumeria branches out to the trash. I think it had been hiding in the branches for cover because it had a similar color. I live in Fort Myers. The caterpillar appears to be about ready to pupate. There are Live Oaks in the area and lots of bromeliads & other plants.
Signature: Thanks, Carol Schumann

Cramer’s Sphinx Caterpillar

Hi Carol,
Your caterpillar is an Ello Sphinx Caterpillar,
Erinnyis ello.  Fully developed Ello Sphinx Caterpillars lose the caudal horn, so your individual is probably still not ready to pupate.  This is a highly variable caterpillar, and you can see some of the variations on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  We have been unable to determine if the Ello Sphinx Caterpillars are known to feed on plumeria.  BugGuide lists food plants as:  “Recorded feeding on members of the following plant families: Caricaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Myrtaceae, Sapotaceae.”     

I was so thrilled to find this caterpillar!  We have all of those plant families in our yard!  I have seen the moth drawn to the front porch by the night light.  This is the first time I have seen the caterpillar!
Thank you for the identification.  It is greatly appreciated! 🙂

Update:  January 24, 2020
We just received a correction that this is
Erinnyis crameri, and images on Sphingidae of the Americas support that identification.

What’s that spider?
Location: El Monte, CA
October 30, 2011 12:33 am
A small spider outside my window. Curious to learn what species.
Thanks Bugman!!
Signature: Arachnophobic Arachnophile

Western Spotted Orbweaver

Dear Arachnophobic Arachnophile,
You are such a contradiction in terms.  We believe your spider is a Western Spotted Orbweaver,
Neoscona oaxacensis, and you can verify that by comparing your individual to photos posted to BugGuide.

Western Spotted Orbweaver


What is this thing?
Location: Northern Colorado
October 30, 2011 11:29 am
Last week cleaning out underneath our kids bed we found this bug. My wife threw it outside in the snow and it died pretty quick. Then she took pictures. I looked it up on the internet and the only match I found was a Hissing Madagascar Cockroach. Here is my issue. We have never had one as a pet and have lived in this house for 7 years. The people before us have lived here for 30 years. Our friend saw this bug 2 weeks earlier, other than that we haven’t seen anything like this. How did it get into our house and is it what I found on the internet?
Signature: Freaked Out In Colorado


Dear Freaked Out In Colorado,
We agree that this is a Cockroach, and we cannot immediately disregard that it is a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.  We believe it may be a Brown Hooded Cockroach or Wingless Wood Roach,
Cryptocercus punctulatus, but we are waiting to confirm that identification with Eric Eaton.  The Brown Hooded Cockroach is the closest match we were able to locate on BugGuide, however, the range is listed as:  “Disjuct distribution in North America, occuring in mountainous areas of Oregon and northern California, as well as the Appalachian mountains in the eastern U.S.”  Is your location mountainous, or high altitude?  If our identification is correct, this is not a species of Cockroach that infests homes.  According to BugGuide “This species feeds on rotting logs, and is not a house pest like many other roaches, in fact it might be considered an important recycler of nutrients in decomposing wood.”  Insects are amazingly adept at entering homes through small cracks in the foundation as well as via windows and doors, even if they are not species that find the human comforts to their liking.


I do live at high elevations.  We are located in Fort Collins right next to the mountains.  The roach measured between 50 to 60mm.  Last thing, my wife said it never hissed while she was trying to get it.

Update from Eric Eaton
October 30, 2011
Hi, Daniel:
I agree this is most likely a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach.  The Brown Hooded Roach looks different and does not occur in Colorado.

Update:  October 31, 2011
If Eric Eaton is correct, the question now becomes how did a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach get under the bed.  Here is what we know:  Boys like bugs.  Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are available in pet stores and they reproduce well in captivity.  Children play jokes on one another.  We would not discount that either the child living in the home or a visiting friend either intentionally or accidentally released a domesticated Madagascar Hissing Cockroach in the bedroom.

So what are the odds that there are more in my house?  By the way thanks for the help.

We strongly doubt that they are reproducing in your home. 


Caterpillar found in Costa Blanca area of Spain
Location: San Miguel de Salinas, 03193 Alicante, Spain
October 29, 2011 6:25 am
The attached picture is of a caterpillar (approx 8-9cm in length) which was found in the garden of our villa near San Miguel de Salinas in Spain (Postcode 03193 Alicante).
I had thought it was dead when I first picked it up in gloved hand but after a short while it curled round my finger and so I released it back onto the ground near where I had found it.
Signature: Dear Ian

Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Dear Ian,
Because of the pattern on the thorax of the adult moth, this species,
Acherontia atropos, is commonly called the Death’s Head Hawkmoth and it was used to advertise the movie Silence of the Lambs.  The caterpillar feeds upon “Trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, mainly in the Solanaceae, Bignoniaceae, Verbenaceae and Oleaceae” according to the Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic website.

Foodchain, Spider and Fly
Location: Queensland. Australia
October 29, 2011 9:58 pm
Hi guys,
Thought you might like this picture for your food chain pages. A tiny immature Dolomedes Instabilis has caught itself an Austrosciapus connexus, one of the Long Legged Flys. The fly is about 6mm long.
Signature: Aussietrev

Water Spider eats Long Legged Fly

Hi Trevor,
We greatly appreciate that you take the time to identify your creatures prior to submitting photos, which makes posting your submissions so easy.  According to the Find a Spider Guide for the Spiders of Southern Queensland website,
Dolomedes instabilis is commonly called a Water Spider and their habitat is  “On the surface of still-water ponds; this spider has the ability to run on water surfaces and to form underwater retreats in large air bubbles, although some pisaurids make their webs in green leaves or small twigs of shrubs and may never have occasion to ‘walk on water.'”  The Brisbane Insect website has some wonderful photos and indicates the common name is Fishing Spider like its North American relatives.  The Brisbane Insect website also indicates the common name of Austrosciapus connexus is the Green Long Legged Fly.