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The First 6 Butterflies of Spring

Eastern comma butterfly.

Ever wonder what happens to all those mosquitoes, flies, and beetles during winter?

Insects Spotlight10

Bug of the Week - April 23, 2014

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Bug of the Week - April 23, 2014

This week, let's see if you can identify this insect to the family level. Think you can? Post your answer in a comment before next Wednesday. Come back next week for the answer and a new challenge.

Moni and Herb recognized the gypsy moths (Lymantria dispar) I posted last week. You can thank Etienne Leopold Trouvelot, a 19th century silkworm enthusiast, for introducing this invasive pest to North America.

Photo: Whitney Cranshaw, Bugwood.org

Friday Fact - American Pelecinid Wasps

Friday April 18, 2014

Did you know...

The American pelecinid wasp (Pelecinus polyturator) is an unusual-looking wasp with an equally unusual life history. The female has an extremely long, 6-segmented abdomen - about 5 times as long as the length of her head and thorax combined. Why? She uses this extended abdomen to probe the ground, feeling for May beetle grubs. When she finds one, she deposits an egg on the grub. The larva burrows into the grub and feeds on its body, killing it. In temperate regions, males of this species are rarely found, and it's believed that the females can reproduce parthenogenetically.

Bug of the Week - April 16, 2014

Wednesday April 16, 2014
Bug of the Week - April 16, 2014

This week's mystery insect is probably more familiar in the caterpillar stage. Do you recognize the adults shown here? If you know what species this is, post your answer in a comment. Don't forget to return next Wednesday for a new challenge.

Did you recognize the banded cucumber beetle (Diabrotica balteata) I posted last week? Moni did! I think this is a pretty beetle, but most farmers aren't happy to see it as it's a serious pest of soybeans and other crops.

Photo: Tim McCabe/USDA ARS

Friday Fact - Fly Halteres

Friday April 11, 2014

Did you know...

True flies (order Diptera) have just a single pair of full wings, which will help you distinguish them from other insects (which in most cases, have two pairs of wings). Instead of a second pair of wings, a fly has a pair of tiny club-shaped structures. These structures, called halteres, help the fly maintain its balance during flight, functioning like tiny gyroscopes.

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