Eastern Eyed Click Beetle

This huge (~5cm) black beetle, with its distinctive black and white eyespots, is commonly referred to as the big-eyed click beetle or eastern eyed click beetle for what I hope are obvious reasons. It is also known as the eyed elater. The Latin name is Alaus oculatus. “Click” beetles have have a spinelike structure on…

Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus carolina)

I think this is where I have to admit I have a problem. I was hanging around in the backyard, waiting for our dog do what she does best, and noticed that one of our local anole lizards had passed on. I knelt down to look, and saw that it was swarming with ants. “Oooh,…

Asian Lady Beetle

I grew up calling these “ladybugs”, too, but, technically, Harmonia axyridis, and other lady beetles, are not true bugs. H. axyridis, also known as the harlequin lady beetle, Halloween lady beetle, Asian lady beetle, or multicolored Asian ladybeetle, is native to eastern Asia, but was introduced to Europe and North America in order to control…

Zebra Longwing Butterfly

This is Florida’s state butterfly! A lovely and distinctive black butterfly with narrow yellow stripes on its elongated wings, the zebra longwing (also known as the zebra heliconian) is native to peninsular Florida and south Texas in the US (sometimes migrating into states further northward). They also live all over South and Central America. Heliconius…

Polydamas Swallowtail

This glorious, 6 cm long gothic horror will grow up to be a gorgeous black and gold butterfly. The polydamas swallowtail (also known as the gold rim swallowtail and tailless swallowtail) is one of only two butterflies in the genus Battus in the US. It is also the only swallowtail in the US to lack…

Oak Leaf Rolling Weevil

Meet Homoeolabus analis, the oak leaf rolling weevil! These attractive little weevils (I love weevils) with black bodies and red elytra are named for their habit of rolling up oak leaves (a process called nidification — the rolls themselves are called nidi, singular: nidus) to protect their eggs and larvae. It’s actually a pretty complex…

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

A common and striking yellow and black butterfly seen across the eastern United States, this is the eastern tiger swallowtail, Papilio glaucus. It’s a male, because its hindwings have almost no blue — in females, there are big blue patches right above the black parts on the hindwings. Females are actually dimorphic, and have two…

Drab Brown Wave Moth

If you squint, you can just about see the concentric lines on this moth’s wings which sort of resemble waves lapping at a sandy beach. Other “wave moths” have much more distinct waves-on-a-beach markings — it’s just my luck I found the only one that looks like cookies ‘n’ cream. The drab brown wave moth…

Black Stink Bug

This is the black stink bug, Proxys punctulatus, a relatively benign insect found over most of the southern US and down into the Carribbean. It’s about 12mm long, black, with spotted black and cream legs, with a long, pointy face, banded antennae, and a black body with a single white spot in the middle. Like…

Sylvana Jumping Spider

A new species for me — this tiny dude (females are light brown) was off the marked path and I was unable to get closer, but he was at least kind enough to sit and stare at me long enough for me to get some photos. This is a sylvan jumping spider. Alas, both Colonus…

Yellow Fever Mosquito

Mosquitoes love me; I loathe mosquitoes. I don’t get a lot of photos of them, because if I venture out of my house I must be coated in an inch-thick layer of DEET to repel them. I try to maintain an indifferent, if not affectionate, attitude toward bothersome, scary, or venomous species, but — and…

Stiletto Fly

About the size of a house fly but unaccountably much longer in the abdomen, with long legs, and in color resembling a flesh fly (red eyes, black and white striped thorax, black and white striped abdomen), this is in fact a stiletto fly, Penniverpa festina. You’d think something this big would have more than a…

Blapstinus Fuscus

This petite (8mm) black beetle, Blapstinus fuscus, was late to a party somewhere on my driveway, but still paused to let me catch a photo. Ordinarily I’d refer to this by its common name, “darkling beetle”, but “darkling beetle” refers to the entire family, Tenebrionidae, and eventually this page would have 12 billion photos in…

Love Bug

If you live in the Gulf Coast, especially Florida, you’ve heard of the “love bug” (Plecia nearctica). They are small, relatively inoffensive flies, but due to their habit of locking together during reproduction (causing the joined pair to fly very erratically and slowly right around bumper-level), during their most amorous times of year they seem…

Twice-Stabbed Lady Beetle

Although the common names for this kind of tiny round beetle include “ladybird” and “ladybug”, the correct term is “lady beetle”. This is neither a bird nor a bug (“bugs” technically refers to an order of insects, of which the lady beetle is not a member). The common name (“twice-stabbed lady beetle”) actually refers to…

Anthrax Argyropygus

This half-inch black fly with half-black, half-transparent wings is a bee fly (family Bombyllidae), which, of course, mimics a bee. Some members of this family look even more like bees, with striped orange and black fuzzy abdomens; many seem to have followed this theme of black and/or silver “fur” instead. You can tell this is…