From the monthly archives: "December 2014"

Subject: Unknown bug
Location: St Paul inside kitchen
December 31, 2014 1:20 pm
Dead of winter in St Paulwhen this creature appears on the kitchen floor barely able to fly to the wall but he does! Body an inch long and
Beautiful variegated wings…what is it?
Signature: Frankie

Crane Fly

Crane Fly

Dear Frankie,
This harmless insect is a Crane Fly in the infraorder Tipulomorpha.  We will attempt a species identification for you and we are quite curious about its appearance in late December.

Subject: Question about animal
Location: Argentina, Córdoba
December 30, 2014 6:54 am
Hi, Bugman,
Thanks for your free service. I would have two questions:
1. This photo shows a great bug, but I can’t distinguish if it is a grassphoper, a cricket, or what is that. How can distinguish between a grassphoper and a cricket?
2. Are there any insect photos databases, who buy and sell photos of insects?
Thanks for your time and help 🙂
David L
Signature: David L



Dear David,
Grasshopper and Cricket are both common names in English for groups of insects in the order Orthoptera.  In North America, this insect is commonly called a Grasshopper from the suborder Caelifera.  We have tried unsuccessfully to identify it more specifically to a genus or species level, but the wrinkly area behind the head, the yellow antennae and the checkered legs are are distinctive features that should aid in a proper identification.  There are databases with stock photos of insects, but we have no connection to any of them.

Dear Daniel:
It’s quite comforting to know that there are people out there helping others with these kind of questions. Do please receive a salutation and wishes of HAPPY NEW YEAR, and many thanks for your answer, which invites us to explore further. It’s understandable that in North America you have species different from the ones that my Colombian friend found in Argentina.
Do please receive warmest regards from Bogotá, Colombia, South America…. Perhaps the first email of 2015??? 🙂

Update:  January 1, 2015
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we believe this is a member of the genus
Titanacris and we located this image that supports Cesar’s identification.

Hi, many thanks! I’ll forward this to my friend. A question: you say that someone called César Crash COMMENTED something… Is there a FORUM in your site, in which I can see this public discussion? I couldn’t find it on the site…. Where did César write? Thanks

Hello again David,
Cesar Crash is a long time contributor to our site who now runs a Brazilian site called Insetologia that is similar to What’s That Bug? and Cesar frequently helps us in South American identifications.  Each individual posting on our site is able to accept comments which our editorial staff then approves or disallows.  We generally approve all comments unless they are spam or otherwise totally inappropriate.  You can view all comments on this particular posting at 2014/12/31/grasshopper-argentina/

Subject: ID moth?
Location: Jerusalem, Israel
December 29, 2014 6:50 pm
Hi Bugman,
I photographed this bug on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem in November this year. At first we thought it was a hummingbird but upon looking at the photo, I think it is some kind of moth. Can you identify it?
Signature: Steve Blake

Diurnal Hawkmoth:  Macroglossum stellatarum

Diurnal Hawkmoth: Macroglossum stellatarum

Dear Steve,
This diurnal Hawkmoth appears to be
Macroglossum stellatarum based on this image on Israel’s Nature Site and the one on TrekNature.

Subject: Identifying a “stick” insect
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
December 30, 2014 6:33 am
I recently found this insect in my garden and would love to identify it.
Latitude : -33.092624 | Longitude : 27.78924
2014/12/27 1:52 PM
Thank you!
Signature: Waldo



Hi Waldo,
This is not a Stick Insect, but rather, an Owlfly in the family Ascalaphidae.  We browsed iSpot and found this very similar looking individual that is only identified to the family level.

Hi Daniel
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my request.

Subject: Mystery bug in Costa Ruca
Location: La Fortuna, Lake Arenal, Costa Rica
December 29, 2014 6:45 pm
I photographed this beauty on an airconditioner drain pipe on the outside of our rental house in El Castillo, near La Fortuna, Costa Rica yesterday. It was about 5 inches long.
Signature: Peter Lewis

Camouflaged Insect:  Phasmid or Orthopteran???

Camouflaged Insect: Phasmid or Orthopteran???

Dear Peter,
This critter seems to have characteristics of several different orders.  Our best guesses are an Orthopteran or a Phasmid.  We have solicited the opinions of several entomologists, including Piotr Naskrecki and Julian Donahue and we hope to have something more specific for you soon.

Piotr Naskrecki Responds
Hi Daniel,
This is a phasmid Prisopus sp. There are several similar species in Costa Rica, hard to say from the photo which one this is. These phasmids have strong chemical defenses and are quite smelly.

Julian Donahue Responds
Interesting critter–I think I’ve actually seen and/or collected them in the tropics.
This appears to be another member of Prisopus in the phasmid family Prisopodidae, representatives of which you have already posted on What’s That Bug? (image showed up in a Google image search!).
See image at:

Thanks Julian and Piotr for identifying this Phasmid in the genus Prisopus.  We thought it looked familiar, but we searched our archives under Costa Rica and not Brazil.

Thank, Daniel, for identifying my bug for me! Time to google phasmids…

Subject: What is this Western Bluebird eating?
Location: 40º18’14,10″N, 121º52’22.43″W
December 29, 2014 1:16 pm
Dear Bugpersons,
I photographed a Western Bluebird as it foraged with conspecifics in a huge oak woodland in Northern California at 783 meters elevation. It carried a larvalike thing onto the road surface and proceeded to whack it to death! The attached photo shows the unfortunate prey object pre-whacking. What bug is that?
Many thanks.
Signature: Sylvia

Western Bluebird eats Cutworm

Western Bluebird eats Cutworm

Hi Sylvia,
Thanks for submitting your excellent Food Chain image.  Our good friend lepidopterist always says that insects, including the caterpillars of butterflies and moths, exist to feed birds.  This caterpillar appears to be a Cutworm in the subfamily which you can find represented on BugGuide, possibly a Winter Cutworm.

Subject: Western Bluebird
December 30, 2014 12:34 am
Thank you for your speedy reply! Winter Cutworm looks correct. Here’s an edited photo that shows a little more detail of the caterpillar. Rather disheartening to learn that this introduced species is so widespread, but I doubt that the Bluebirds mind.
Signature: Sylvia

Western Bluebird eats Cutworm

Western Bluebird eats Cutworm

Thanks for the update Sylvia.  The nice thing about some introduced species is that they do provide food for native species.