Buffalo Treehopper

Even though she’s never exactly sure which species she’s looking at, the BugLady is always tickled when she finds one of these pointy little bugs. Here’s what you need to know about the improbable-looking Buffalo Treehopper – that it can fly and hop as well as walk, and that in Germany it’s called the “Büffelzikade” (“buffalo cicada”). The rest is lagniappe.

Bugs in the News V

Thanks to all of you who send links to interesting articles about bugs (there have been a bunch, lately, about the dramatic decline of insect populations). This week we’re going to take a look at a selection of these articles and bugs.

Two-lined Spittlebug

Two-lined spittlebugs (Prosapia bicincta) are in the family Cercopidae, aka the Froghoppers. Why? Because their main mode of transportation is jumping, and they do it well – some can leap almost three inches straight up and more than 100 times their own body length in a single bound (that takes care of the “hopper” part, but the BugLady still doesn’t think they look very froggy – in fact, the adults are more reminiscent of cicadas).

Thyreodon Atricolor Wasp

Thyreodon atricolor (no common name), one of the BugLady’s “Nemesis Bugs,” is a big, beautiful wasp that flies tantalizingly through dappled, woody edges, preceded by those fabulous, yellow antennae. It seldom stops, and when it does, it often perches in the shade.

Giant Water Bugs Revisited

Not long ago, an email correspondent reported seeing a giant water bug in a parking lot, so the BugLady decided to refresh a BOTW episode from 2009 with some new content and lots of cool links. Giant Water Bugs are “true bugs” in the Order Hemiptera and the family Belostomatidae. It’s not a huge family – about 160 species worldwide, 19 of them in North America.

Silver-spotted Skipper

This wonderful caterpillar dropped down onto the railing the other day while the BugLady was eating breakfast on the porch. The Silver-spotted skipper was mentioned briefly ten years ago in a general BOTW about skippers, in which the BugLady confessed, not for the last time, that she is Skipper Challenged (Brock and Kaufman, in the Field Guide to Butterflies of North America, say that “Beginners are often driven to despair by the skippers because there are so many of them and because they are so subtle, so challenging to identify. Experienced butterfly watchers may love the skippers for exactly the same reasons.”). It deserves an episode of its own.

Maple Spanworm 2

Another week, another Maple Spanworm. This one, the Large Maple Spanworm (Prochoerodes lineola) is also in the family Geometridae. The BugLady didn’t have to play her usual game of Identification Roulette because, of the seven New World species in this primarily tropical genus, this is the only one that occurs in eastern North America.

Maple Spanworm

Isn’t this moth exquisite! It’s one of several moths in the family Geometridae that go by the same name – Maple Spanworm (more about that in a future episode). And it’s one of several “new bugs” that the BugLady saw for the first time this year.

Cross Orbweaver Spider

The BugLady is literally surrounded by Cross Orbweavers (Araneus diadematus). Egg cases were attached to the house and porch last fall, and masses of spiderlings emerged in early summer; she often has to break through a web to get out the door. In her research, the BugLady has seen this group labeled as orbweavers, orb-weavers, and orb weavers, even within the scientific community; she’ll use “orbweavers” because it annoys Spellcheck).

Trogus Pennator

The BugLady was walking along the trail at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve recently when she saw a flashy, orange, inch-long wasp actively hunting for something in some white ash saplings. The wasp was flying from tree to tree, searching among the leaves. This week, we’re taking a look at the Trogus Pennator.