A page started May 2020, of photos from chance encounters. Insects are shown alphabetically within taxonomic level. I have separate pages for butterflies and moths and for dragonflies and damselflies. If you see an error, please let me know via the contact tab at the top of the page.
Cantharidae: Colorado Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus basalis)
All three photos are of the same beetle, which I found on a tamarisk.
Cerambycidae: Longhorn Beetle (Tylosis maculatus)
The larvae of this beetle feed on the dead roots of globe mallow plants, and the adults hang out topside. There is no common name for the species; the family as a whole is known as longhorn beetles.
Chrysomelidae: Dogbane Beetle (Chrysochus auratus)
This beetle got its name because it eats dogbane (Apocynum) leaves.
Chrysomelidae: Spotted Cucumber Beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata)
Chrysomelidae: Three-Lined Potato Beetle (Lema daturaphila)
Both photos are of the same individual. Three-Lined Potato Beetles resemble, so are confused with, Striped Cucumber Beetles. Both have three black stripes with yellow between them, but the Three-Lined Potato Beetle has a narrower thorax that is brown or reddish with spots. Also, the head isn't black. This one was on Silverleaf Nightshade.
Coccinellidae: LeConte's Giant Lady Beetle (Anatis lecontei)
Coccinellidae: Seven-Spotted Laydbug (Coccinella septempunctata)
Coccinellidae: Convergent Lady Beetle (Hippodamia convergens)
Meloidae: Desert Spider Beetle (Cysteodemus wislizeni)
Meloidae: Blister Beetle (Megetra)
To see my YouTube video of this little critter, click here.
Scarabaeidae: Figeater Beetle (Cotinis mutabilis)
These large June bugs resembles the Green June Bug, Cotinis nitida. That species supposedly ranges no farther west than Texas, but I have seen online assignments of New Mexico June bugs to that species. My reluctant ID is Figeater Beetle. Reluctant because of the dorsal coloration: a green central area that's so dull it can look black, flanked by broad areas of dull yellowish brown to brown. These bugs do have the dark femurs and uniformly colored pygidia (you'll have to look that one up) often used to characterize C. mutabilis. I threw in the thumbnail to show that while the end of each antenna often looks club-shaped, it consists of three "tines."
Diptera (True Flies)
Cecidomyiidae: Gall Midge (Asphondylia)
Syrphidae: Hoverfly (Eristalis)
Syrphidae: Hoverfly (Paragus haemorrhous)
The long, thin abdomen on this hoverfly, compared to many other fly species, makes it look just a bit like a wasp.
Tachinidae: bee-like Tachinid Fly (Hystricia?)
My photos show some tachinid flies with yellow abdomens, others with red ones. No idea what the difference indicates.
Ulidiidae: Picture-Winged Fly (Chaetopsis)
At first glance this looked like a bee. But not only does it have a fly head, the black and yellow stripes are on the wings, not the abdomen.
Hemiptera (True Bugs)
Aphididae: Oleander Aphid (Aphis nerii)
All three photos show Oleander Aphids on Horsetail Milkweed. You can see more of that wildflower on a separate page. Oleander Aphid females produce new young female aphids, no males required. In other words, all of the aphids shown in these pictures are females.
Aphididae: Mealy Plum Aphid, Hyalopterus pruni
The following summary is based on this web page. Hyalopterus pruni spends its winters on species of Prunus (including plum and apricot trees) and its summer on reeds, preferably the Common Reed. The aphids are usually green but can also be a dull red. In the spring, the eggs hatch on the host trees. In the summer some of the aphids grow wings and fly off to find reeds. Late in the summer, some aphids on reeds grow wings and seek out trees where they can lay eggs. The new eggs hatch the following spring. As part of this cycle, the aphids molt and leave behind their former exoskeletons. Those are the small white things you can see in my photos.
While this aphid is not usually considered to be a species attended by ants, the web page I mentions offers photographs of such behavior. As do my photographs.
Berytidae: Stilt Bug (Jalysus?)
Stilt bugs have long, slender legs, along with long antennae with slightly club-shaped endings. I found these ones hanging out on Linda Tarde flower spikes. Stilt bugs in the genus Jalysus feed on Evening Primrose Family members, so the examples shown here are probably of that genus.
There are multiple species of cicada in New Mexico, in more than one genus. My photos show an example of what people usually find: the empty exoskeleton of a cicada nymph. The adult emerges from a slit in the back. In the second image, showing the slit, the branch has been bent back to provide a view of the slit. The first image, with the nymph upside down, shows the nymph exoskeleton in the position in which I found it.
Lygaeidae: Small Milkweed Bug (Lygaeus kalmii)
Pentatomidae: Stink Bugs
While this individual resembles the Green Stink Bug, Chinavia hilaris, the coloration doesn't seem quite right to me.
Reduviidae: Pale Green Assassin Bug (Zelus luridus)
For a description of this bug's M.O., please read about the Leaf Hopper Assassin Bug immediately below.
Reduviidae: Leaf Hopper Assassin Bug (Zelus renardii)
In these images, the head deserves a closer look. The upper part is the main part of the head, but the lower part is a folded-back stylet (hollow dagger). There's a small vertical gap between the two. Assassin bugs unfold the stylet and plunge it into a victim, inject digestive fluids, and do a Vactor on the victim's innards. A well named group of bugs, but one that does in countless harmful insects each year.
I found the adult working over a patch of Emory's Baccharis. The nymph was on a Russian Olive.
Rhopalidae: Scentless Plant Bugs (Harmostes)
Rhopalidae: Boxelder Bug (Boisea trivittata)
Hymenoptera (Bees and Related Insects)
Apidae: European Honeybee (Apis mellifera)
Apidae: Bumblebee (Bombus)
Apidae: Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa)
Carpenter bees, which look like all-black bumblebees, are the insect that led me to start a web page for insects other than butterflies and moths. In April 2020 I found a carpenter bee dead on the sidewalk not far from my home. It showed no apparent damage. Perhaps it fell victim to back yard chemical warfare. In June of that year I captured my first picture of a live carpenter bee, but it doesn't show nearly as much detail. I have a carpenter bee "house" in my own yard, and it's been used several times.
In August 2020 I did a brief blog on a carpenter bee I saw engaging in nectar robbing.
Cynipidae, Gall Wasps: Disholcapis?
When this twig gall is live, it produces a sugary substance much desired by wood ants (genus Formica). In return, the ants may scare off would-be predators of the wasp larva within.
Eulophidae? Gall wasps
Halictidae: Green Metallic Sweat Bee (Agapostemon)
Halictidae: Blood Bee (Sphecodes)
Pompilidae: Spider Wasp
Spider Wasps paralyze spiders to serve as food for their larvae. Despite this ferocious approach to child-rearing, adult Spider Wasps are vegans, living off nectar.
Pompilidae: Tarantula Hawk (Pepsis)
Tarantula Hawk wasps include two genera, Pepsis and Hemipepsis. I'm putting this one in the former based on the blue sheen. In 1989 one species of Tarantula Hawk, P. formosa (now known as P. grossa), became the New Mexico state insect.
Siricidae: Banded Horntail (Urocerus gigas)
At first, this Banded Horntail looked like an especially large, especially nasty wasp. However, it sat docilely on a freshly felled tree as I approached with my camera. The yellow "stinger" is an ovipositor.
Vespidae: Potter Wasp (Eumeninae)
Orthoptera (Grasshoppers and Similar Insects)
Acrididae: Wrangler Grasshopper (Circotettix rabula)
According to the Field Guide to the Sandia Mountains, "The Wrangler grasshopper ... attracts attention on warm summer days because the males perform mating flights where they hover above the ground making loud snapping and cracking sounds." That's how this grasshopper got our attention. The Field Guide goes on to state, "These grasshoppers prefer high-elevation open rocky areas," which characterizes much of the Ellis Trail.
Acrididae: Carolina Grasshopper (Dissosteira carolina)
I first saw this grasshopper on the fly, and its dark wing patches gave away the ID.
Acrididae: Mischievous Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca damnifica)
My tentative identification of the species for this grasshopper relies heavily on the uniform coloration.
Tettigoniidae: Katydid nymph
When I took this picture I thought it was of an assassin bug. Looking at the robust upper hind legs and delicate forelegs, among other things, I'm identifying it as a young katydid nymph. Some species in the family have evolved to mimic assassin bugs when a young nymph, and this seems to be one of those cases. No idea which species (there are more than 6,400 worldwide) or even which genus.
Tettigoniidae: Two-Lined Shieldback (Eremopedes bilineatus)
The two short brown "horns" at the end of the abdomen mark this katydid as a male. The abdomens of the females have long pointy extensions.
Tettigoniidae: Angle-Wing Katydid (Microcentrum)
I found this katydid dying on my front porch one morning. It was lying in a 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide grout channel, which provides a scale.