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greeninscetkey.jpg (54439 bytes)greeninscetleaf.jpg (47443 bytes)From April 2004 Ypsilanti, MI
Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sexguttata)

This green insect is a beetle (order Coleoptera). It's a tiger beetle (family Cicindelidae "sissindellidee"). This particular one is in the species Cicindela sexguttata, the six-spotted tiger beetle. The genus Cicindela is common around the world, the name comes from an old Latin word for a brightly colored beetle. The species name, sexguttata, means "six-spotted", but members of the species often have eight spots like yours does, or none at all. The species was originally named and described in France in the late 1800's by Jean-Henri Fabré, a famous entomologist. The population he worked with was probably all six-spotted, hence the name.

Many tiger beetles are beautifully colored like this. A web search on the genus or family name will turn of lots of good pictures. They are nearly all active, fast moving diurnal predators, snapping up other insects. Like all beetles they go through metamorphosis, the same way butterflies do. The larvae of tiger beetles look like grubs, they dig short vertical tunnels in sandy soil, and pop out to bite passing insects and spiders as prey.

Thanks to George S. Hammond, Editor and Content Specialist, Animal Diversity Web at the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan for answering the, "what insect is this?" question.

hummingbirdmoth.jpg (42925 bytes)From May 2004 Ypsilanti, MI
Sphinx or Hummingbird Moth

This picture is of a moth (order Lepidoptera). It's in the family Sphingidae ("sfinjidee"), called sphinx moths or hummingbird moths.

This is one of the clearwings, genus Hemaris. There are three species in Michigan that look pretty similar. The clear wings and horizontal stripes probably help the moths mimic bumblebees, and avoid predators. The genus name is from an ancient Greek word, "hemara," which meant "day," and refers to the unusual (for moths) behavior of these species, which fly in the day time. The larvae (caterpillars) of sphingids are the big green caterpillars sometimes called hornworms. The caterpillars of Hemaris species feed on blueberry, laurel, snowberry, honeysuckle, hawthorne, and cherries and plums, but aren't usually abundant enough to be significant pests.

Thanks to George S. Hammond, Editor and Content Specialist, Animal Diversity Web at the Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan for answering the, "what insect is this?" question.

caterpillar.jpg (60768 bytes)From September 2006 Hawk Mountain, PA
Canadian Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio canadensis)


millipede.jpg (104205 bytes) From September 2006 Hawk Mountain, PA
American Giant Millipede (Narceus americanus) 


hickoryhorneddevil.jpg (121720 bytes) From September 2006 Ohiopyle, PA
Hickory Horned Devil (Citheronia regalis)

This caterpillar is the larva of the Royal Walnut Moth, also known as the Regal Moth. The larva is not one for a timid person to suddenly discover. It has a scary, frightful appearance resembling a small dragon with up to five pairs of long, curving hornlike structures over the back of its thorax with the rest of the body covered with shorter spikes. The body color ranges from deep blue-green to tan with orange spikes tipped with black. Shorter spikes are black. Though very ferocious appearing, it is quite harmless to handle. They are enormous in size, being five to six inches long and nearly 3/4-inch in diameter. They feed for a period of 37 to 42 days on the leaves of hickory, walnut, butternut, pecan, ash, lilac, persimmon, sycamore, sumac and sweet gum. Larvae mature in late summer, wandering around searching for a place to burrow underground to pupate. Overwintering occurs in the pupal stage. 

The moth has a wingspan of five to six inches and is seen in midsummer. It has a long body covered with orange yellow hair. The forewings are gray with orange veins and yellow spots. The hindwings are primarily orange with scattered yellow patches.

From Ohio State University's Giant Caterpillars Fact Sheet: