Eyed click beetle, Alaus oculatus (Linnaeus) (Elateridae)

By Hunter Weaver

Eyed click beetle, Alaus oculatus (Linnaeus). © 2012, A.V. Evans.

The eyed click beetle, Alaus oculatus (Linneaus) (24-44 mm) has two large eye-spots on the pronotum. Adults on their backs make a “clicking” noise as they flip-up into the air to right themselves or get out of harm’s way. They are active on summer days in forests and prey upon wood-boring beetle larvae in decomposing trees. The predaceous larvae are found in decaying stumps and logs where they prey on beetle larvae. This species is found throughout Virginia and is widespread in eastern North America.

References

Evans, A.V., 2007. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects & Spiders of North America. Sterling Publishing Co., New York, NY.

Wells, Sam. The Sam Wells Bug Page. The Eyed Click Beetles of the United States and Canada (Coleoptera: Elateridae).(accessed 21 June 2012).

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Toad bug, Gelastocoris oculatus (Fabricius) (Gelastocoridae)

By Mollie Thorsen

Toad bug, Gelastocoris oculatus (Fabricius). © 2012, A.V. Evans

The toad bug, Gelastocoris oculatus (Fabricius) (7-9 mm) are cryptically mottled and vary from brown and black to reddish-yellow. They are found on muddy or sandy shores of ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers. These predatory insects have mantid-like raptorial forelegs used for capturing small insect prey. Both adults and nymphs are active from spring through fall; there is one generation produced annually. This species is widespread in Virginia and is found in southern Ontario and throughout the United States and into Mexico.

References

Evans, A.V., 2007. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects & Spiders of North America. Sterling Publishing Co., New York, NY.

Pearl crescent butterfly, Phyciodes tharos (Drury) (Nymphalidae)

By Ashly Robertson

Pearl crescent, Phyciodes tharos (Drury). © 2011, A.V. Evans

The pearl crescent butterfly, Phyciodes tharos (Drury) (wingspan 25-38 mm) have orange antennal tips. Their wings are mostly orange above with black spots. Adults are found in pastures and along edges of woods from spring through fall. Caterpillars feed on aster plants, while drink nectar from various kinds of flowers. There are 1-3 generations or more produced annually. This species is widespread in Virginia and found throughout eastern North America to Mexico.

References

Evans, A.V., 2007. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects & Spiders of North America. Sterling Publishing Co., New York, NY.

Pearl crescent, Phyciodes tharos (Drury, 1773). http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Phyciodes-tharos (accessed 25 June 2012)

Pearl crescent. http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/cimg283.html (accessed 25 June 2012)

Green horse fly, Chlorotabanus crepuscularis Bequaert (Tabanidae)

By Lindsey Tarkington

Green horse fly, Chlorotabanus crepuscularis Bequaert. © 2012, C.C. Wirth.

The green horse fly, Chlorotabanus crepuscularis Bequaert (18 mm) is the only distinctly bright yellow-green horse fly in North America. Males have large compound eyes that are touching on the front of the head; those of the female are separated by a small gap. Adults are most active at dusk and dawn in spring and summer, especially from May to July. The predaceous larvae live in wet soils in woodland habitats. Blood-feeding females find their mammalian hosts by tracking exhaled carbon dioxide. This species is widespread in moist, wooded habitats in Virginia and is found throughout eastern United States to southern Arizona.

References

BugGuide. Species Chlorotabanus crepuscularis. Iowa State University Entomology, 10 May, 2005. Web.1, July 2012. <http://bugguide.net/node/view/17583&gt;

Marlos, Daniel. What’s That Bug? Horse Fly: Chlorotabanus crepuscularis. 14 May, 2011. <http://www.whatsthatbug.com/2011/05/14/horse-fly-chlorotabanus-crepuscularis/&gt; (accessed 1 July, 2012)

Painted lichen moth, Hypoprepia fucosa Hüber (Erebidae)

By Ethan Litvin

Painted lichen moth, Hypoprepia fucosa Hüber. © 2012, C.C. Wirth.

The Painted Lichen Moth Hypoprepia fucosa Hüber (25-35 mm) has bright yellow and orange colors that warn predators of their toxic tissues. The spiny caterpillars are black with yellow broken lines and spot on the back. They are found in wooded habitats during the spring and summer months and feed on lichens; the winter months are spend buried in the soil. The nocturnal adults emerge in late May and early June and are commonly attracted to lights. This species is common across Virginia and is found throughout eastern North America from Canada southward.

Reference

Evans, A.V., 2007. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects & Spiders of North America. Sterling Publishing Co., New York, NY.

Golden-backed snipe fly, Chrysopilus thoracicus (Fabricius) (Rhagionidae)

By Trey Creekmore

Golden-backed snipe fly, Chrysopilus thoracica (Fabricius). © 2012, A.V. Evans.

The Golden-backed Snipe fly, Chrysopilus thoracicus (Fabricius) (10 mm) has a round head, distinctive golden patch of hairs on top of the thorax, dark wings, tapered abdominal segments with white spots, and long legs. They greatly resemble a wasp or a bee. Little is known about the natural history of this species. Adults are active in late spring and early summer and are thought to prey on other insects, but this has not been confirmed. This species is common in Virginia woodlands and occurs throughout eastern North America.

Reference

Species Chrysopilus thoracicus – Golden-backed Snipe Fly. http://bugguide.net/node/view/483 (accessed 12 July 2012)

Tile-horned prionus, Prionus imbricornis Drury (Cerambycidae)

By Justin Bates

Tile-horned prionus, Prionus imbricornis Drury. http://eol.org/. Patrick Coin.

The tile-horned prionus, Prionus imbricornis Drury (22-50 mm) has a dark brown and shiny body. There are 18 to 20 overlapping segments found in the antennae in males with 16 to 18 serrated segments in females. The elytra is coarsely pitted. Females lay eggs at the base of deciduous trees and shrubs. The larvae bore into the roots of the trees and can cause extensive damage; their feeding activities lead to the hollowing out of larger roots. The larva takes 3-5  years to adulthood. The nocturnal adults are attracted to light and hide under loose bark during the day. This species is widespread in Virginia and is found in the central and eastern United States, as well as southern Canada.

References

Bug Guide. http://bugguide.net/node/view/3143 (accessed June 20, 2012).

Evans, A.V., 2007. National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects & Spiders of North America. Sterling Publishing Co., New York, NY.