A Shield Bug sits atop a cypress knee, water floating down below it. While the bark of the knee is rough and flaky, the shell of the bug is mostly smooth with small pits.
A Shield Bug sits atop a cypress knee, water floating down below it. While the bark of the knee is rough and flaky, the shell of the bug is mostly smooth with small pits.


This Rough Stink Bug (Brochymena myops), shouldn't be discouraged from your garden. They are avid devourers of caterpillars. Photo: Richard Covey
This Rough Stink Bug (Brochymena myops), shouldn't be discouraged from your garden. They are avid devourers of caterpillars. Photo: Richard Covey

South Carolina is a great state for bugs, and our swamp is no exception. With so many species of insects, this list will inevitably be very long. For now we will start off with the most common and visible species and hopefully expand upon it over time. With the exception of aquatic invertebrates, there has never been a comprehensive invertebrate study done at Beidler Forest.

Up close and personal with a Bald-faced Hornet. They have spiky feet and large, toothy sideways mandibles. Not fun to mess with.
The Bald-faced Hornet's (Dolichovespula maculata) bite is definitely worse than her bark. Then of course there's her sting. Photo: Richard Covey

Bees, Wasps, and Ants

  • Field Ant (Formica integra)
  • Carpenter Ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus)
  • Carolina Red Wasp (Polistes carolina)
  • Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata)
  • Southern Yellowjacket (Vespula squamosa)
  • Cow Killer (Dasymutilla occidentalis)
  • Cicada Killer (Sphecius speciosus)
  • Mud Dauber (Sphecidae family)
  • Cuckoo Wasp (Chrysis spp.)
  • Scoliid Wasp (Pygodasis quadrimaculata)
  • Myzinum Wasp (Myzinum sp)
  • Ichnumen Wasp (Ichneumonoidea superfamily)
  • Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa sp.)
  • Honey Bee (Apis sp.)
  • Bumblebee (Bombus sp.)
This small fly is on the handrail, its odd coloration adding to the mystery of this rarely found insect.
Extremely little is known about the Gold-backed Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus thoracicus), including their diet and life cycle. They are also extremely rare, so consider yourself lucky if you see one. This one is a female, based on its smaller eyes. Apologies for the blurry photo, but it is definite proof at least! Photo: Richard Covey


  • Mosquito (Mansonia titillans)
  • Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus)
  • Gallinipper (Psorophora ciliata)
  • Deer Fly (Diachlorus ferrugatus)
  • Horseflies (Tabanidae family, multiple species)
  • Green Bottle Fly (Lucilia sericata)
  • Gold Backed Snipe Fly (Chrysopilus thoracicus)
  • Yellowjacket Hover Fly (Milesia virginiensis)
  • Robber Fly (Asilidae family)
  • Crane Fly (Tipulidae family)
  • Fruit Fly (Drosophila melanogaster)
A large Luna Moth holding onto a stick that is in turn being held by a hand. Many moths go dormant during the day and don't try to escape if you poke them.
Luna Moth (Actias luna) adults cannot feed. Like mayflies, they must find a mate before they run out of energy and die, usually between 7 and 10 days. Finding a dead one out in the woods is like coming across a crashed spaceship. Photo: Richard Covey


  • Luna moth (Actias luna)
  • Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis)
  • Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia)
  • Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus)
  • Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia)
  • Blinded Sphinx (Paonias excaecatus)
  • Agreeable Tiger Moth (Spilosoma congrua)
  • Eight-spotted Forester (Alypia octomaculata)
  • Rough Prominent Moth (Nadata gibbosa)
  • Painted Lichen Moth (Hypoprepia fucosa)
  • Pink-striped Oakworm Moth (Anisota virginiensis)
  • Forest Tent Caterpillar Moth (Malacosoma disstria)
  • Eastern Tent Caterpillar (Malacosoma americanum)
  • White-marked Tussock Moth (Orgyia leucostigma) - Hairs can irritate sensitive skin!
  • Live Oak Tussock Moth (Orgyia detrita) - Hairs can irritate sensitive skin!
  • Io Moth (Automeris io io) - Stings!
  • Puss Caterpillar, Southern Flannel Moth (Megalopyge opercularis) - Stings!
  • Saddleback Caterpillar (Acharia stimulea) - Stings!
  • Crowned Slug Moth (Isa textula) - Stings!
This caterpillar has rows of thorn like spikes going down its back, but it's all for show, they don't hurt to touch.
Wondering what type of caterpillar this is? Perfect! It's a Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis)! Photo: Richard Covey


  • Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus)
  • Black Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio polyxenes)
  • Spicebush Swallowtail (Papilio troilus)
  • Red Spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis)
  • Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)
  • Banded Hairstreak (Satyrium calanus)
  • Cloudless Sulfur (Phoebis sennae)
  • Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)
  • Eastern-tailed Blue Butterfly (Cupido comyntas, maybe? There's a little blue butterfly in the area that refuses to allow its photo being taken)
  • Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma, although it begs the question if it's actually a Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis))
  • Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis, sorry for the pun we definitely have Question Marks)
Up close and personal with a cicadia, for having such a heavy body, large wings, and a big head, their eyes are relatively small.
The Dog-day Cicada (Neotibicen canicularis) is the sound of summer for many in the eastern United States. Photo: Richard Covey

True Bugs

  • Dog-day cicada (Tibicen canicularis)
  • Leaf-footed Bug (Leptoglossus oppositus)
  • Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus)
  • Oak Leafhopper (Platycotis vittata)
  • Two-lined Spittlebug (Prosapia bicincta)
  • Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus)
  • Woolly Apple Aphid (Eriosoma lanigerum)
  • Pale Green Assassin Bug (Zelus luridus)
  • Rough Stink Bug (Brochymena myops)
  • Green Stink Bug (Chinavia hilaris)
  • Water Strider (Gerridae family)
  • Water Boatman (Corixidae family)
  • Water Scorpion (Ranata sp, maybe, or Nepinae subfamily)
  • Eastern Toebiter (Lethocerus americanus)
Bird Grasshoppers can be over two inches long and like open areas with tall grasses, they are very flightly and hard to catch.
American Bird Grasshoppers (Schistocerca americana) have great eyesight and are excellent flyers. They love our grassland trail and requires one to run around like an idiot for at least half an hour before catching one. Photo: Richard Covey

Grasshoppers, Crickets, and Katydids

  • American Bird Grasshopper (Schistocerca americana)
  • Eastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea microptera)
  • Carolina Locust (Dissosteira carolina)
  • Field Cricket (Gryllus sp.)
  • House Cricket (Acheta domesticus)
  • Spotted Camel Cricket (Ceuthophilus maculatus)
  • Tawny Mole Cricket (Scapteriscus vicinus)
  • Greater Angle-wing Katydid (Microcentrum rhombifolium)
This large praying mantis, some three to four inches long, sits on a hand in the office at the visitor center. If I remember correctly, this one did attack me at some point.
If there's one rule about finding mantids, it's that you never find them if you look for them. The Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) is a big, imposing insect. They were introduced into the US in 1896, but, the best thing about them? They love to eat cockroaches. Photo: Richard Covey


  • Chinese mantis (Tendoera sinensis)
  • Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) - State insect!
Up close and personal with a female Great Blue Skimmer. The females are not blue. Like all dragonflies she has large but thin wings and huge round eyes for finding the smallest of flying prey in the air.
This female Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans) is an avid devourer of mosquitoes. Males of this species have blue eyes and their bodies are covered in pale blue wax. Photo: Richard Covey

Dragonflies and Damselflies

  • Ebony Jewelwing (Calopteryx maculata)
  • Azure Bluet (Enallagma aspersum)
  • Swamp Darner (Epiaeschna heros)
  • Green Darner (Anax junius)
  • Great Blue Skimmer (Libellula vibrans)
  • Common Whitetail Skimmer (Libellula lydia)
  • Blue Dasher (Pachydiplax longipennis)
  • Eastern Pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis)
  • Graygreen Clubtail (Arigomphus pallidus)
This small beetle has a brightly colored smooth shell with rows of small pits. It never stopped moving for a photo and sort of felt like plastic.
The Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle (Labidomera clivicollis) is very cute, and absolutely refuses to sit still for a photo. Photo: Richard Covey


  • Eastern Hercules Beetle (Dynastes tityus)
  • Horned Passalus Beetle (Odontotaenuis disjunctus)
  • Rhinoceros Beetle (Xyloryctes jamaicensis)
  • Giant Stag Beetle (Lucanus elaphus)
  • Green June Beetle (Cotinus nitida)
  • May Beetle (Phyllophaga sp.)
  • Grapevine Beetle (Pelidnota punctata)
  • Eastern-eyed Click Beetle (Alaus oculatus)
  • Hardwood Stump Borer Beetle (Mallodon dasytomus)
  • Sculptured Pine Borer Beetle (Chalcophora virginiensis)
  • Dogbane Leaf Beetle (Chrysochus auratus)
  • Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle (Labidomera clivicollis)
  • False Bombardier Beetle (Galerita sp.)
  • Banded Net-winged Beetle (Calopteron discrepens)
  • Fireflies (Lampyridae family)
  • Hump Backed Dung Beetle (Deltochilum gibbosum)
  • American Carrion Beetle (Necrophila americana)
  • Red-legged Buprestis (Buprestis rufipes)
  • Fiery Searcher Caterpillar Hunter (Calosoma scrutator)
  • Burying Beetle (Nicrophorus sp.)
  • Whirligig Beetle (Gyrinus sp.)
This mayfly has a long, soft body with large, flat and soft wings. They aren't good fliers, their only advantage is numbers.
Adult mayflies only live for a few days. Their presences is an indicator of clean water and a bounty for local wildlife. Photo: Richard Covey

Other Insects

  • Burrowing Mayfly (Hexagenia bilineatac), we have numerous mayfly species
  • Antlion (Myrmeleontidae family)
  • Green Lacewing (Chrysopidae family)
  • Alderfly (Sialidae family)
  • Owlfly (Ascalaphidae  family)
  • Summer Fishfly (Chauliodes pectinicornis, maybe)
  • Broad Wood Cockroach (Purcoblatta lata - The traditional Palmetto Bug, (Eurycotis floridana) is not found this far north, but, most people don't pay that much attention when a winged cockroach appears)
  • Barklice (Psocoptera order) - Sometimes these crowd on the boardwalk handrails
  • Caddisfly (Trichoptera order)

How you can help, right now