kentucky insects


9/7/16                                    Spilomyia longicornis

Another First!

Order Diptera (Flies)
No Taxon (“Aschiza”)
Family Syrphidae (Syrphid Flies)
Subfamily Eristalinae
Tribe Milesiini
Subtribe Milesiina
Genus Spilomyia
Species longicornis (Spilomyia longicornis)

Explanation of Names
Spilomyia longicornis Loew 1872
11-15 mm
mimics Polistes or perhaps Yellowjacket. Yellow-striped abdomen. Eyes have pigment which enhances the wasp-like appearance.
e. NA (QC-ON-MN to FL-TX)(1)
in NA, Sep-Nov at low elevations, Jun-Oct in mountains(2)


9/9/16               Hornworms (larvae) -    Hawk Moths (adults)         

My man says they are a huge bug on my tomato , ME WHERE!

Has already eaten one tomato this size today was mad when it ate all the rest of the stalk and stood up, I had to sneek another one. So we will see in the morning how much it has ate!!!  Love the little hairy (claw) Feet!!!!

Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Bombycoidea (Silkworm, Sphinx, and Royal Moths)
Family Sphingidae (Sphinx Moths)
Other Common Names
Hawk Moths (adults)
Hornworms (larvae)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Sphingidae Latreille, 1802
Explanation of Names
Sphingidae from the type genus Sphinx (Linnaeus), for the Egyptian Sphinx.
Common name “Hornworm” due to the stiff pointy dorsal extension near the end of the abdomen of most larvae.
There are 124 described species found in America north of Mexico.(1)
Wingspan 28-175 mm.
Adult - medium to very large. Body very robust; abdomen usually tapering to a sharp point. Wings usually narrow; forewing sharp-pointed or with an irregular outer margin. No ocelli or tympanal organs. Proboscis usually well developed, extremely long in some species that feed in flowers with deep calyxes. Antennae gradually thicken along length, then become narrower toward tip.
Larva - naked except for a few scattered hairs. Most have a prominent dorsal horn at the tip of abdomen (thus the name, hornworms).
Throughout North America.
Year round in the south
Larvae feed both day and night on many kinds of woody and herbaceous plants.
Adults feed on nectar and some are important pollinators.
Life Cycle
Usually pupate in soil, though some form loose cocoons among leaf litter.
Some are active only at night, others at twilight or dawn, and some, such as the clearwings (e.g. genus Hemaris - not to be confused with the Clearwing family, Sesiidae) feed on flower nectar during the day.
Some larvae (hornworms) do serious damage to crop plants (e.g. tomato, tobacco, potato). Hornworms are often attacked by braconid wasp parasitoids.


9/19/16            Flat-tailed Leaf-cutter Bee

Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
No Taxon (Anthophila (Apoidea) - Bees)
Family Megachilidae (Leaf-cutter Bees, Mason Bees, and allies)
Subfamily Megachilinae
Tribe Megachilini
Genus Megachile (Leaf-cutter and Resin Bees)
No Taxon (Subgenus Litomegachile)
Species mendica (Flat-tailed Leaf-cutter Bee)

Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Megachile mendica Cresson 1878
Explanation of Names
Specific epithet mendica is Latin, meaning poor, or “a beggar” (1). Common name refers to flat profile of female T6.
Widely distributed in the United States, occurring from coast to coast, and from Maine to Florida in the East.
Discover Life Global Map
It is in flight throughout the season.


7/4/2016                             Emerald Ash Borer                     

My first one of these, I really hate seeing them here!!!

Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
No Taxon (Series Elateriformia)
Superfamily Buprestoidea (Metallic Wood Boring Beetles)
Family Buprestidae (Metallic Wood-boring Beetles)
Subfamily Agrilinae
Tribe Agrilini
Genus Agrilus
Species planipennis (Emerald Ash Borer)
Explanation of Names
Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire 1888
adult 7.5-14 mm (males smaller than females); larva up to 32 mm
Adult: elytra bright metallic green; pronotum golden-green; ventral surface lighter yellowish-green (with fine hairs in males, lacking in females); body narrow and elongate; head flat; eyes kidney-shaped, black; dorsal surface of abdomen metallic purplish-red, visible when wings are spread
generally larger and brighter green than native NA spp.
Larva: body white to cream-colored, dorso-ventrally flattened; head brown, mostly retracted into prothorax; abdomen 10-segmented with pair of brown pincer-like appendages on last segment; segments 5-8 widen posteriorly, giving the abdomen a serrated appearance when viewed from above       Range
native to E. Asia, accidentally introduced to N. Amer., established around the Great Lakes (see distribution map) and has spread as far as CO, LA, and GA.
state by state data here

adults in spring and summer; larvae in summer and fall
hosts: Fraxinus spp.; larvae feed on inner bark of ash trees, disrupting the flow of water and nutrients, and killing infested trees within 1-4 years; adults feed on ash leaves

Life Cycle
one generation per year; overwinters as larva in outer sapwood/bark; pupate in April-May; adults emerge in late spring through D-shaped exit holes and lay eggs on host tree; larvae chew through outer bark and bore S-shaped tunnels in inner bark until late fall, then stop feeding
Accidentally introduced with imported packaging/crating wood, probably in the late 1990s; first reported in se. MI and sw. ON in 2002.
A highly destructive pest and a major economic & environmental threat to urban and forested areas of eastern NA
Wasp (Cerceris fumipennis) preys on this species and is used to detect the presence of EAB (more here)

All information from BUGGUIDE


7/14/16                              Eastern Tailed-Blue         

Just reach in and they crawl right up. 

Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Papilionoidea (Butterflies and Skippers)
Family Lycaenidae (Blues, Coppers, Hairstreaks, Harvesters)
Subfamily Polyommatinae (Blues)
Genus Cupido (Tailed Blues)
Species comyntas (Eastern Tailed-Blue)

Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Everes comyntas - see genus page for discussion and links
2 specific epithet synonyms listed at All-Leps: meinersi, watermani
one of 2 species in this genus in North America listed at All-Leps
2 subspecies listed at All-Leps: comyntas, texanus
23-28 mm wingspan in United States 16-26 mm in Canada 
Adult: male’s wings above iridescent pale blue with brownish-gray along outer margin; forewings with a short oblique black bar near middle; hindwings with a row of submarginal black spots and a small orange spot at the base of each projecting tail. Female’s wings larger with longer tails, gray above on body and wings, 2 or 3 small orange spots with black dots near margin of hindwings. Wings of both sexes below silvery gray with small dark spots and a few orange spots near margin of hindwings.

Larva: body hairy, variably dark pebbly green or various shades of brown, with darker brown middorsal stripe, dark oblique stripes, and white lateral line; head small, black.
Throughout most of United States and southern Canada; abundant in the east. 
Uncommon to rare over most of its Canadian range; common only in southern Ontario. (CBIF)
Meadows, roadsides, and forest paths. (1)
Flies from Spring to Fall (1); May to October in Canada
Caterpillar eats flowers and seeds of a wide variety of native and imported herb and occasionally shrub Fabaceae, including White Clover (Trifolium repens), Red Clover (T. pratense), and Cow Vetch (Vicia cracca).
Life Cycle
Eggs are laid singly on flowers and young leaves; two or more generations per year; overwinters as a mature larva, often inside a seedpod.
Unlike most butterflies, this species has thrived where its habitat has been encroached upon by human activities. It is common along freshly mowed roadsides, flying to puddles. Many adults lose their tails.


8/4/16                         Glenurus gratus

A first for me!

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Neuroptera (Antlions, Owlflies, Lacewings, Mantidflies and Allies)
Suborder Myrmeleontiformia (Antlions and Owlflies)
Family Myrmeleontidae (Antlions)
Tribe Nemoleontini
Genus Glenurus
Species gratus (Glenurus gratus)

Synonyms and other taxonomic changes

Glenurus gratus (Say 1839)

Explanation of Names

Latin gratus ‘pleasing, agreeable/grateful’(1)


body ca. 36 mm; length to wingtips 52 mm, wingspan 94 mm (Hagen 1861)


Very large, wings mottled in brown-and-pink towards the distal ends (pattern distinctive)



se. US (NJ-IN to MO-FL)(2)


Larvae found in tree holes among sawdust and in burrows of Gopher Tortoise, Gopherus polyphemus(3)(4)(5) (a threatened species)

7/9/16                     Dark Lyric Cicada     

Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (Free-living Hemipterans)
Superfamily Cicadoidea (Cicadas, Leafhoppers, and Treehoppers)
Family Cicadidae (Cicadas)
Subfamily Cicadinae
Genus Neotibicen (Annual or Dogday Cicadas)
Species lyricen (Lyric Cicada)
Subspecies engelhardti (Dark Lyric Cicada (“ssp. lyricen var. engelhardti”))

Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Tibicen lyricen ssp. lyricen var. engelhardti (Davis 1910), “Dark Lyric Cicada”
As with several taxa, color and pattern are certainly not absolutes for species id., however, can be helpful. Regarding measurements, these too can be misleading; some individuals may not adhere to “specified measurements” used to “key out” a species. Within this particular taxon, T.lyricen, color, pattern and size may differ (these observed differences are an artifact of individual variation, geographic origin and/or in some cases gender).


The color form engelhardti (previously considered a distinct subspecies) is usually black with a very small amount of green, tan or brown on the pronotum (often in the shape of an anchor or tear drop). Across and circumventing the “engelhardti range”, there are numerous intermediate types (lyricen-engelhardti variants), especially where the color forms “lyricen” and “engelhardti” transition/overlap.

Due to its distinct color and pattern and the fact the literature often refers to this variety as a distinct subspecies, I recommend keeping the form “engelhardti” separate here on the guide - at least for now.

Tibicen lyricen, Lyric Cicada
1) In general, Lyric Cicadas are 2 inches or slightly more in total length (incl. wings).
2) Dark brown/reddish-brown legs (occasionally with hints of green - tenerals may have green legs!!)
3) The pronotum of these cicadas has a well developed black pronotal collar with pronotal patches which may be green, bronzy-green, bronze, reddish-brown, brown or black in coloration (typically not as clean or “leaf green” as in Tibicen tibicen … exception in ssp. virescens)
4) Dark eyes: when alive/fresh, T. lyricen has dark black/brown eyes (rarely with dark greenish black hues when teneral)
5) Ventral black stripe on venter of abdomen is well developed in both genders and in all subspecies and color variants
6) Males of this species have oblique opercula (reddish-tan in color)
7) Behavioral note: When ALIVE, lyric cicadas will usually tuck their legs tightly to the sides and “play dead”