Category Archives: Identification Challenges

Identification Challenge #14 Reveal: Arched Hooktip

27mm wide | March 24, 2012 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

No one commented on the latest identification challenge. Despite showing just the tip of the forewing, the image provided showed the distinctive feature of a subfamily of moths commonly called hooktip moths. If you got that far, it’s a pretty simple process of elimination since there are only a handful of North American species, each one easily distinguished from the other. This species is the Arched Hooktip, Drepana arcuata.

This individual appears to be a male, based on the widely bipectinate antennae. read more

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Identification Challenge #14

March 24, 2012 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

Today I found my first moth in the overwintering container I keep outside. Can you identify it from this wing fragment? I’ll keep the comments hidden for awhile, but this should be an easy one.

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Identification Challenge #13 Reveal: Spotted Apatelodes Proleg

Spotted Apatelodes Caterpillar | October 2, 2011 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

Did you guess that the caterpillar above was the critter featured in Identification Challenge #13? Both commenters for this challenge were on the right track, guessing that it was a caterpillar. Here’s the photo again from the challenge.

Proleg closeup

Here’s an even closer look at the proleg so I can point out a few interesting things.

Proleg showing crochets in two different sizes

All those little claws on the proleg are called crochets. This particular species, Apatelodes torrefacta, is one of just a handful of species in my area that belong to the family Bobycidae. The most famous member of that family is the domesticated silkworm moth. One feature of caterpillars in this family is that they have crochets of two different lengths, as shown above. read more

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Identification Challenge #13

October 2, 2011 | Twelvestones, Roswell, GA, USA

Despite appearances, I promise this is not an underwater shot of some strange anemone. I brought this critter home from a recent walk in the park.

This could be a difficult challenge. Nonetheless, I bet someone will be able to identify the species shown here. To give you some sense of scale, I had my 65mm macro lens maxed out at 5x for this shot.

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Identification Challenge #12 Reveal: Emesinae

30mm (body) | January 20, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Only one reader commented on the latest identification challenge. Bryan Reynolds found it easy to identify this as a thread-legged bug in the subfamily Emesinae (family Reduviidae). Be sure to check out Bryan’s new non-profit, The Butterflies of the World Foundation.

This thread-legged bug was spotted in some leaf litter, finishing off some sort of nondescript prey.

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Identification Challenge #12

30mm (body) | January 20, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Can you identify this critter as far as subfamily?

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Identification Challenge #11 Reveal: Derbidae

15mm (wingspan) | January 20, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Both commenters on the last identification challenge correctly identified the critter above as a planthopper in the family Derbidae.

At a glance, you might mistake these hemipterans for lepidopterans. The first thing you might notice as being a bit off are those antennae. If you look closely enough, you’ll see the typical hemipteran rostrum.

Here’s another one, with what appears to be an abdominal injury.

Another derbid

Reference:

500 Insects:
A Visual Reference
by Stephen A. Marshall
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Identification Challenge #11

15mm wingspan | January 20, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Can you identify what family this critter belongs to? Comments will be held in moderation until the answer is revealed in a few days.

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Identification Challenge #10 Reveal: Phiale guttata

15mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

Only Ted C. MacRae ventured a guess for this most recent identification challenge. He was exactly right, though a bit confused by his source which indicated this species might not occur in Costa Rica. This is indeed Phiale guttata.

The World Spider Catalog lists the distribution for this wide ranging species as Costa Rica to Paraguay. The Global Species Database of Salticidae site lists all the species for Costa Rica, and allowed me to eliminate the possibility of similar spiders in the same genus. There are also some good photos and illustrations there. read more

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Identification Challenge #10

15mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

I was able to identify this to species and determine the sex. Can you? Luckily there’s lots of online resources for this family. Comments will be held in moderation and I plan to reveal the answer sometime this weekend.

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