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A surprising find at my porch light as I was turning off power to the main moth sheet in the wee hours this morning - a Nessus sphinx (Amphion floridensis)! I’ve never seen this species in my yard before!

Overhead view of the huckleberry sphinx (Paonias astylus) from the other day.

Sorry for the dearth of posts lately, but my brand new laptop broke and when Dell “fixed” it they actually sent it back still broken but in even worse ways. So I am missing most of my photos and all of my image processing software and just generally cranky about it. Also pandemic/politics/end of summer...:-(


Anyway, here is a cool round-tipped conehead katydid, Neoconocephalus retusus, that I found on my porch stoop the other night. A new species for the yard list!

HOW CUTE IS THIS BEETLE??? Giraffabeetle. So adorkable!


(long-necked ground beetle, Colliuris pensylvanica)

Oh Hai!!


(Forest tent caterpillar, Malacosoma disstria)

Happy Fly Day Friday! Please enjoy this spiky Tachinid fly (Ptilodexia sp. I think), the embodiment of how I feel right now...

First acorn weevil (Curculio sp.) of the season!

Every spring my Joe-pye weed comes up and is decimated by these plume moth caterpillars (almost certainly Eupatorium Plume Moth, Oidaematophorus eupatorii). Plume moths are so cool though, I just can’t bring myself to do anything about it. The plants will probably eventually recover, as they do every year, but the leaves will look like crap :-).

This maple callus borer (Synanthedon acerni) was loud and proud last night. Check out that hair tuft on the end of its abdomen!

Bug of the Day - Arachtober!

This is my new favorite spider! Though any spider that eats the Asiatic garden beetles (Maladera castanea) deserves mad props in my book.


That glimmer of green on the chelicerae of this jumping spider makes this a male Phidippus audax.

How adorable is this little jumping spider, gnawing on his leafhopper snack???

Ok, I will allow the man bun, just this once...


(hologram moth, Diachrysia balluca)

Really glad this elm borer (Saperda tridentata) was still at the light when I went to shut things down in the wee hours, because I totally boffed the shots I took of it during the first round.

This huuuuuuuuge Giant Water Scavenger Beetle (Hydrophilus sp.) was sitting at the bottom of my moth sheet the other night.

One good thing about blacklighting, you can do it alone in the woods and not have to worry about it needs to hurry up and get warm because the world is gonna be wrecked for a while...


(deer fly, Chrysops sp., from July 2019)

Found this really cool caterpillar in an elm tree in my back yard the other night. Thx to Andy Wyatt for identifying it as a Double-lined Prominent (Lochmaeus bilineata).

Arachtober is over, that must mean it’s...Mothvember? ;-)


(Pretty sure this is Patalene olyzonaria, Juniper-twig geometer)

Found this small copper underwing caterpillar (Amphipyra pyramidoides) under a leaf on a Fothergilla plant in my yard.

An excellent specimen of spined oak borer (Elaphidion mucronatum) at one of my black lights this weekend. Very pointy. Much spines.

This green mantisfly (Zeugomantispa minuta) is my third species of mantidfly in the yard so far this season, and possibly my favorite.

A surprise Virginia creeper sphinx (Darapsa myron) hiding in the foliage below my moth light.

Tobacco hornworm caterpillars (Manduca sexta) going to town on some tomatoes.

Always a tough decision how much LEGS to include in a spider shot. Too much, and you cannot appreciate the face. Too little, and you cannot appreciate The Sheer Diameter Of This Beast!


(Nursery web spider, Pisaurina mira)

Had a nice shot of #buglife earlier this week at The Caterpillar Lab, including this awesome huge giant prickly stick insect (Extatosoma tiaratum)


Amount of time fellow insectshipper eumorpha-dream was at my house today before a new yard species was found (right next to my back porch)? Less than 5 minutes.


(Pandora sphinx caterpillar, Eumorpha pandorus)

This reddish-brown stag beetle (Lucanus capreolus) must have been playing in the mud before it showed up on my window screen last night.

Happy 16th Buggiversary to BotD!!! Please enjoy another photo of this amazing Abbott’s sphinx (Sphecodina abbottii) I had at my moth light last May.

Ok, I think I’ve finally figured out the trick to getting these tiger moths to show their underwings: you need to poke them when they are already on the ground. If you touch them when they are perched vertically on something, they immediately play dead and drop the the ground like a small, colorful rock :-).


(This is Nais tiger moth, Apantesis nais. Thx to John Trapp and Chris Schmidt for the id)


P.S. - If you notice the yellowish sheen to this photo, it’s merely because every square inch of my yard is covered with pollen. Feh.

A moth in the hand is worth...???


(lettered sphinx, Deidamia inscripta)

My hopelessly tannin-stained moth sheet makes an interesting backdrop for this Green Leuconycta (Leuconycta diphteroides)

Found this wasp-mimic mantidfly (Climaciella brunnea) hiding under a milkweed leaf in my herb garden this past June. So cool!

For added joy, imagine that this Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrhartica isabella) is sitting on my knee, instead of my knuckle :-D.

This hydrangea sphinx (Darapsa versicolor), decked out in full camo, was easily the highlight of last night’s blacklighting session. Unless you count me being blind for like half the night because mask+glasses+120% humidity = exquisite misery. No, maybe don’t count that ;-).

IDK why, but in my head this photo is called “My Friend Likes to Draw on His Hand.” Makes *ZERO* sense because that marker looks accidentally applied. Anyway, thanks friend, for holding this reticulated beetle (Tenomerga cinerea) who desperately wanted us to believe it was dead :-).

A lovely specimen of Yellow Slant-Line (Tetracis crocallata) from the Moth Ball last weekend.

Needed some of this floof today...


(huckleberry sphinx, Paonias astylus)

“Bartender, another bourbon. Make it a double!”



Dew-covered goldenrod crab spider (Misumena vatia) in the garden.

Harvestmen…you really cannot get much more alien than this, I don’t think, without photographing an actual alien :-).

The most adorable male giant ichneumon wasp (Megarhyssa atrata) sat on the bug light the other night for about an hour, staring at me :-).

Absolutely spectacular Finned-willow Prominent (Notodonta scitipennis) from last July. Not sure how this got buried in the archives!

Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) with orange Fear Sauce and a side order of Spider :-)

A big dragonfly that showed up at my porch light last August. Dave Small identified it as some kind of darner (Aeshna sp.), and based on the black s10 abdominal segment (hidden in this photo), probably a male black-tipped darner (Aeshna tuberculifera).

Another adorable jumping spider, found her on the underside of a milkweed leaf last June.

Beautiful leaf that looks just like a butterfly! ;-)

Happy Pollinator Week! If you only knew how long I spent chasing this Northern cuckoo-leaf-cutter bee (Coelioxys sp.) around and around my garden, trying to get a photo that was not blurry! Pollinators do *NOT* slow down in a sunny garden.


Update: Thanks to the USGS Native Bee Lab for identifying the species as C. modesta. Apparently these bees are cleptoparasites of Megachile sp. bees, breaking into their nests and leaving their own eggs to feed off the pollen stores.



(Male Polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus)

A magnificent Malaysian jungle nymph (Heteropteryx dilatata) from The Caterpillar Lab.

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