Sanctanus fasciatus

A charming little mottled yellow, brown and cream leafhopper, native to the southeastern United States and Central America down into northern South America. This could be some other member of Sanctanus — another genus mostly distinguished by tiny differences in genitalia — but it very strongly resembles this individual on bugguide.net. It’s perching on a…

Larger Canna Leafroller / Brazilian Skipper

In my backyard, I have a little cluster of brilliant orange canna lilies. I was admiring them when I noticed that some of the big, flat leaves had a suspiciously chewed look, and some of the edges were rolled over. When I pulled back the rolled-over edges, I found a few of these fat little…

Hag Moth Caterpillar

This one was definitely a “lifer” — approximately 1.5cm long, this wandering, tentacled floofball is the hag moth caterpillar, or “monkey slug”, the larva of the moth Phobetron pithecium. Like many things with inviting, fuzzy backs and adorable tentacles, this caterpillar is venomous — I’m actually having trouble finding out if it’s the tentacles, or…

Lelaps sp. (A Parasitic Wasp)

An unforeseen side-effect of picking up macro photography has been that, every time I turn around, I discover an entirely new universe. Before I started trying to identify my tiny photo subjects, I had absolutely no idea how many of the miscellaneous little black “flies” zooming around were actually tiny, parasitic wasps. And I do…

Blue-ringed Dancer Damselfly

Damselflies are the bane of my existence as a photographer — adorable, striking, expressive, and damn near impossible to identify in the field. They are either identified based on some tiny part which was just out of focus or just out of shot, or they start life as one color and turn other colors as…

Neotropical red-shouldered stink bug

This handsome little green stink bug, with its characteristic red stripe across the top of the scutellum and another red stripe down the snout, is the neotropical red-shouldered stink bug (or red-shouldered stink bug), Thyanta perditor. It’s another Wikipedia stub syndrome victim, alas; it lives in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean and…

Telonaca alta

I find treehoppers to be adorable and desperately want to find one of the ones that looks like a helicopter, or an alien, or…unfortunately, this is the closest I’ve got so far, a charming mottled gray and white fellow with clear wings and a pronotum for days, giving it the appearance of a very, very,…

Smilia fasciata

This handsome little brown treehopper with a brilliant green stripe on its extended pronotum (a feature unique to the Membracidae — er, the extended pronotum, that is, not the green stripe) enjoys hopping around on (and eating the sap of) oak trees, and ranges all over the east coast of the United States. This poor…

Ophiderma definita

This dainty and well-camouflaged treehopper is Ophiderma definita, about 5mm long and suffering, alas, from Wikipedia Stub Syndrome. They “can be found between March and June in the Central and Eastern regions of the United States and Canada”, and…well, now you know exactly as much as I do about them. In general they seem to…

Spiny Oak Slug Moth

This spectacular green spiky caterpillar is the larval form of the spiny oak slug moth. It’s probably Euclea delpihinii, based on comparison to photos on bugguide.net, but there are two virtually identical species of Euclea in my area and this may well be Euclea nanina. I am not yet able to afford the $30,000 reference…

Homaemus proteus

Meet one of five species of shield-backed bugs in the genus Homaemus: this is Homaemus proteus, notable for those two lovely spots on its scutellum (although not all individuals have the spots, and some have much bigger spots — I wonder if this might be a nymph rather than a color morph, but this is…

Mexican Paper Wasp

Meet Mischocyttarus mexicanus, the Mexican paper wasp. This eusocial species has actually been extensively studied, because individual wasps employ different reproductive strategies over their lifetime, including nesting individually and as a colony, brood parasitism (with unrelated conspecifics) and usurpation. This “reproductive generalization” is unusual behavior. M. mexicanus can be found all over the southern United…

Acutalis tartarea (Treehopper)

This strange little beastie does not have a common name, alas, although I’ve seen it on Project Noah as “Black-veined treehopper”, which works. It is notable for its bright green abdomen, black “painted” lines along the wing veins, partially clear wings, and a wide, dark brown “stripe” on the pronotum. The pattern of coloration varies…

Pennsylvania Flea Beetle

Flea beetles (as you may guess after seeing those big, folded, hoppy hind legs) are known for their prodigious jump. In general, they aggravate gardeners by making holes in leaves. This particular species, the Pennsylvania flea beetle (Disonycha pensylvanica) however, prefers wetland areas and not eating human crops. This ~5mm beetle has a black head,…

Dot-lined White Moth

I regret that I do not (yet) have any photos of the adult moth (Artace cribrarius), mostly because it strongly resembles a stuffed animal, but please enjoy these fascinating pictures of the A. cribrarius caterpillar, a very well-camouflaged caterpillar which appears to resemble the bark of a birch tree, complete with nifty “fringe of sublateral…

Clastoptera querci

Spittlebugs are related to leafhoppers and other tiny, hopping insects which suck juices out of plants. Spittlebugs are unique in that they hide in little white frothy clouds of “spit” (hence the name) as nymphs. (It’s not actually spit. It’s actually secreted from the, um, other end of the insect.) Adult spittlebugs do not hide…