Super Crop Challenge #6

I thought I had everyone stumped in Super Crop Challenge #5, but Dave took advantage of the extended answer period and cracked the code for a solo win and the lead in the current session.  For this edition of Super Crop Challenge, I offer the following impossibly cryptic crop of a photo I took this past winter.  The organism is from Brazil, but that’s no excuse for punting since there are very similar North American counterparts.  Points for order, family, genus and a possible species ID are all up for grabs, as are the structures and specific life stage to which they belong.

Standard challenge rules apply, including moderated comments (to give everyone a chance to take part) and possible bonus points for being the first to guess correctly (in the off chance multiple people offer the same correct answers) or for making me chuckle.  Reminder: nobody walks away with no points, so it pays to try even if you haven’t a clue!

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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17 Responses to Super Crop Challenge #6

  1. tim eisele says:

    Well, they look like rather longer versions of the spines on Mourning Cloak caterpillars, so I’ll go with Defensive Spines on a Lepidoptera caterpillar. Ah, what the heck: may as well go all in with one of the Tortoiseshells in the genus Nymphalis.

    Then again, they look pretty sharp. Maybe venomous. Are these venomous spines from one of the Lonomia caterpillars? If so, yikes! , and I hope you didn’t find it the hard way.

    • You’ll get 2 pts each for “spines,” “Lepidoptera” and “caterpillar.” Perhaps they do have some defensive function, but it was not apparent to me (yes, I touched!).

      6 pts.

  2. It looks like some of the weird ornamentation that can be found on the Membracidae, order Hemiptera.

  3. Roy says:

    I really haven’t the slightest clue, but this image appears to be a pair of dorsal spines from the caterpillar of a nymphalid butterfly. Many north american species have caterpillars with similar arrangements but none of the ones I’m familiar with have spikes with club like tips.

    • Good thing you played even though you hadn’t “the slightest clue,” because “spines” and “caterpillar” were worth 2 pts each. You implied, but didn’t actually say “Lepidoptera” so I can only give you half-credit (sorry, them’s the rules).

      5 pts.

  4. I’m going with those being spines on a caterpillar. I’m thinking something akin to a hickory horned devil (Citheronia regalis). With those wedge shaped tips, it must be an early instar caterpillar, first instar even.
    Early instar Citheronia on BugGuide.
    Order Lepidoptera, family Saturniidae, subfamily Ceratocampinae, Citheronia brissotii?

  5. I am not a taxonomist and don’t deal with terrestrial insects, so this is a total wild stab in the dark, but I’m going with Hemiptera,Membracidae. Membracid nymphs seem to generally have lots of crazy hairs along their abdomens, so I could picture a set of these bad boys somewhere on one of those bizarre little bugs! Considering that I’m not sure that even this is right, I won’t embarass myself by trying to take it further… 🙂

    • Interesting – another vote for Membracidae. That family hadn’t occurred to me when I made the photo crop, but I can see how that could be a choice.

      Anyway, effort is always worth points here at BitB, so you get a couple.

  6. Dave says:

    Hi Ted – link is to the wrong Dave – I was stumped.

  7. Dave says:

    Whoops, I see you are referring the previous challenge when I was a genius, not to the current one where I am hopelessly uninspired. Since I am here, though, might as well guess Membracidae.

    • Another vote for Membracidae makes this even more interesting.

      I’ll give you the standard 2 pity points, and I’m going to give you an extra point just because I loved the phrase “hopelessly uninspired”!

  8. Pingback: ID Challenge #9 « Beetles In The Bush

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