Category Archives: Insect of The Month

Monarchs on the Move In Texas

by Steve Byrns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications SAN ANGELO – Tens of thousands of monarch butterflies have been migrating through the Concho Valley in recent days, and a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist hopes Texans stop to appreciate what he terms is truly a royal procession. “These are special insects, and they are moving through our country here in San Angelo in a big way,” said Dr. Charles Allen who is headquartered at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at San Angelo. “There were literally… Read More →

“Nosey” Butterflies Visit South Central Texas on Annual Migration

By Paul Schattenberg, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications SAN ANTONIO – What may appear to some to be a butterfly invasion in South Central Texas is really just an annual migration of the American snout butterfly, said Molly Keck, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service entomologist for Bexar County. “Right now these snout butterflies are migrating through the region in huge numbers on their way toward the Rio Grande River area,” Keck said She said the insect gets its name from the elongated mouthparts called “palps” that extend from the… Read More →

Insect of the Month: Green June Beetles

It’s the time of year that green june beetles are spotted in large clusters around Central Texas. According to Extension Program Specialist Wizzie Brown, these beetles are known by their velvety green appearance and measure about one inch long and one-half inch wide. The beetle’s top is a dull green with yellow-brown markings on the wings and the underside is bright, metallic green with yellow-orange markings. The larvae, usually called grubs, are creamy white and shaped like the letter C with well-developed head capsules and legs and can… Read More →

Dr. Spencer Johnston Co-Authored Article on Antarctic Midge Genome

Who would have thought that there would be an insect (or any other terrestrial animal) tough enough to survive the brutal Antarctic environment? A group of scientists including the Department’s own Dr. Spencer Johnston just published an article featured in Nature Magazine on the Antarctic midge that not only survives year round in the South Pole, but also has the smallest insect genome sequenced to date. Led by Dr. Joanna Kelley of Washington State University, the scientists have set out to study the Antarctic midge (Belgica antartica) and… Read More →

Insect of the Month: Paper Wasps

Since we are now in the “dog days” of summer, you probably have seen these paper wasps buzzing around or have seen their nests on eaves and other items around homes, or have been stung accidentally by these insects before. Extension Program Specialist II Wizzie Brown said that paper wasps are reddish brown wasps, sometimes with yellow markings and are about ¾- 1 inch in length with smoky wings. Mated queens overwinter and emerge in spring to start a small, new nest in which to lay eggs. The… Read More →

Insect of the Month: Cicadas

Editorial note: This is a monthly series highlighting the most interesting facts about a featured insect. by Wizzie Brown, Extension Program Specialist, Austin Cicadas are fairly large insects but can vary in size with some growing over 1 ½ inches. Color may also vary depending upon species, but many are browns or greens. All cicadas have bulging eyes and, on adults, wings that are held roof-like over the body. The wings are semi-transparent with thick wing veins. The majority of their life cycle is spent underground. Cicadas have… Read More →