Insects in Colorado

Did you know that Colorado has an official State Insect? It is the Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly.

This article in BugGuide.net has pointers about photography.

This page has gotten so large that I am putting some of them into parts:
Order Leptidoptera, Butterflies and Moths
Order Coleoptera, Beetles
Order Odonata, Dragonflies & Damselflies
Order Diptera, Flies
Order Hymenoptera, Ants, Bees and Wasps

This page is for the rest of the orders:
Order Hemiptera (True bugs):
      Family Lygaeidae. Seed bugs, Cinch bugs, etc
      Family Aphididae. Aphids.
      Family Cicadellidae Leafhoppers
      Family Coreidae Leaffooted Bugs.
      Family Corixidae Water boatman
      Family Cydnidae Burrowing Bugs
      Family Eriococcidae Scale insects.
      Family Gerridae Water Striders
      Family Pentatomidae Stink bugs
      Family Reduviidae Assassin bugs
      Family Rhopalidae. Scentless plant bugs
Order Dermaptera (Earwigs):
      Family Forficulidae. Earwigs.
Order Orthoptera (Grasshoppers, Crickets, etc)
      Family Acrididae Locusts and most grasshoppers
      Family Gryllidae Crickets
      Family Rhaphidophoridae. Camel Crickets, etc
      Family Tettigoniidea. Katydids
Order Thysanura
      Family Lepismatidae. Silverfish.
Order Mantodea
      Family Mantidae Praying mantis
Order Neuroptera
      Family Myrmeleontidae Antlions
      Family Chrysopidae Lacewings
Order Ephemeroptera (Mayflies)
      Family Baetidae Small minnow Mayflies


Family Aphididae, Aphids

These are Milkweed Aphids, also known as Oleander Aphids. They eat only Oleander or Milkweed plants. The picture was taken on 9 August 2008 at the Fountain Creek Nature Center, Fountain, Colorado.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
Superfamily: Aphidoidea
Family: Aphididae
Genus: Aphis
Species: nerii

These Aphids were found on 9 October 2013, on the bottom sides of every leaf of a small Cottonwood tree, about 1.5 ft high. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Temperature was about 70 degrees F. There seems to be several different sizes present. There were also a few ants.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
Superfamily: Aphidoidea
Family: Aphididae


Earwigs, family Forficulidae

An Earwig. This one is the Common earwig, also known as the European earwig. According to Wikipedia, there are about 1,800 species in 10 families. This picture was taken on 19 July 2009 in Colorado Springs, CO. This one is a Forficula auricularia, quite common in Colorado.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Dermaptera (earwig)
Family: Forficulidae
Genus: Forficula
Species: F. auricularia

Another Earwig, maybe a different species from the one above. This one was photographed on 1 July 2009, Colorado Springs, CO. There seems to be some difference from the previous photo, but that could be due to the age of the insect and the lighting.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Dermaptera (earwig)
Family: Forficulidae


Silverfish, family Lepismatidae

A Common Silverfish. Found in my garage 6 October 2008. About 9mm long. These insects are found in this form in the fossil record for up to about 300 million years. According to Wikipedia, they can live for up to a year without eating, in extreme cases.

The third picture is of another one, about 5mm in size, caught 18 January 2009 in our bathroom.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Thysanura
Family: Lepismatidae
Genus: Lepisma
Species saccharina (Common Silverfish)



Termites. The body is about 4mm in length, and the wings add at least that much more. These were coming up from under my driveway in great numbers, many hundreds, on 28 March 2009. The ones in this picture were coming out from the gap between my driveway and the bottom of the frame around my garage door. The temperature was 48 degrees F, but this side of the house was in the sun, so they would have been warmer than 48.

The second picture (part of the original image) shows 3 specimens of a different form of the termite. Same species, but light in color, and no wings.

One of the experts on bugguide.net/node/view/15740 said: These are definately reproductive king and queen termites. I can't I.D. which species, or family for that matter. As for the dark individuals without wings, they are quite delicate and fall off fairly easily. The three whitish colored individuals in the other image, at about mid-right, are workers I believe. Soldiers in some of the families have large jaws for defense of the colony. Some are able to exude noxious fluids in defense, while others have overly large heads to block openings in tunnels and nests.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Dictyoptera
Order: Isoptera



Mantis, family Mantidae

The first picture is of a Praying Mantis that I found in the bottom of an old bucket. I have no idea how long it has been dead.

There are about 2,300 species within the Mantodea order.

The second picture was taken on 20 September 2009 in Colorado Springs, CO. It was about 2 inches long. It appears to be a European Mantis, Mantis religiosa. It was introduced in 1899 to America, and is now widespread. If that is what this is, there should be a small black-ringed spot on each foreleg.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Dictyoptera
Order: Mantodea
Family: Mantidae
Genus: Mantis
Species: M. religiosa



Family Lygaeidae, Seed bugs, Cinch bugs, etc

This a Large Milkweed Bug. The picture was taken at the Fountain Creek Nature Center south of Colorado Springs, CO on 30 July 2008. These insects retain some of the toxic substances found in the Milkweed plant (Asclepias syriaca). As a result, the insect itself becomes toxic, and most predators will leave them alone.

There are at least two other species of Milkweed Bugs within this Genera.

The second picture tas taken at the same place on 9 August 2008, and shows a male and a female mating.

The third pictures was taken at the same place, on 16 June 2011.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Lygaeidae
Genus: Oncopeltus
Species: fasciatus


These are some nymphs of the Large Milkweed bug. This picture was taken on 26 July 2010 at the Fountain Creek Nature Center.
This a Small Milkweed Bug. The picture was taken at the Fountain Creek Nature Center south of Colorado Springs, CO on 9 August 2008. These insects retain some of the toxic substances found in the Milkweed plant (Asclepias syriaca). As a result, the insect itself becomes toxic, and most predators will leave them alone.

The second picture is of male and female Small Milkweed Bugs, 31 Aug 2008.

The third picture is of another Small Milkweed Bug, 26 November 2008 in Colorado Springs.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Lygaeidae
Genus: Lygaeus
Species: kalmii (Small Milkweed Bug)


This Small Milkweed Bug was found floating in my dog's water dish on 8 December 2016. Still alive.

Family Coreidae, Leaffooted Bugs.

Western Conifer Seed Bug - Leptoglossus occidentalis, part of the genus of Leaf-footed bugs. This one was found on 15 October 2008 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The second picture was taken on 29 September 2009 in Colorado Springs. It was about 2cm in length.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Coreidae (leaffooted Bugs)
Genus: Leptoglossus
Species: occidentalis


This one is a close relative of the Western Conifer Seed Bug pictured above. This one is a Leptoglossus clypealis, Western Leaf-footed bug, same genus. It was found on 14 October 2012 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Coreidae (leaffooted Bugs)
Genus: Leptoglossus
Species: clypealis


Another Western Leaf-footed bug, found in Colorado Springs on 26 April 2014. It had a body length of 2cm.
This one is in the genus Catorhintha, one of the leaffooted Bugs. Pictures taken on 22 May 2009, in El Paso Co., CO

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Infraorder: Pentatomomorpha
Superfamily: Coreoidea
Family: Coreidae (leaffooted bugs)
Genus: Catorhintha
Species: selector


Based on the body shape and size, this must be in the same family. It appears to be a Catorhintha guttula, based on a good match to a photo in www.BugGuide.com. It was found in Colorado Springs, and photographed on 31 August 2009. Length was about 1.2 cm.

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Family Coreidae (Leaffooted Bugs)
Genus Catorhintha
Species guttala

This is a Cactus Coreid, Chelinidea vittiger, about 1.4 cm in length, found in Colorado Springs on 24 August 2009. They eat Prickly Pear Cactus, which is plentiful in the Colorado Springs area.

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Family Coreidae (Leaffooted Bugs)
Genus Chelinidea
Species vittiger (Cactus Coreid)

This is another Cactus Coreid, Chelinidea vittiger, found in Colorado Springs on 6 May 2014.


This one has not been identified yet, but based on appearance, it is probably related to some of those above. Found in Colorado Springs, CO on 28 October 2011. It was 1.5 cm in body length, larger than most bugs like this.

Family Reduviidae -- Assasin bugs

This Assasin bug is called a Masked Hunter. They are predatory and eat small arthropods. They can give a nasty bite to humans if they are handled. It was found on 28 July 2011 in Colorado Springs, on the carpet of my upstairs hallway. It was 1.7 cm in length.

Identification was made by the good folks at bugguide.net/node/view/15740.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Family: Reduviidae
Subfamily: Reduviinae
Genus: Reduvius
Species: R. personatus


Another one, this one about 1.3cm body length. It appears to be the same species, just smaller. It was found in my back yard in Colorado Springs on 6 August 2011.
Another one, this one about 1.7cm body length. It was found in my kitchen sink in Colorado Springs on 15 June 2013.
Another one, this one about 1.7cm body length. It was found in my garage, on a wall near a spider web on 9 June 2014.
This one is a nymph of one of the Ambush Bugs. The identification was provided by John and Jane Balaban, on www.Bugguide.net. Found in Colorado Springs, CO on 19 July 2013. It was about 5mm in body length.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Reduviidae (Assassin Bugs)
Subfamily: Phymatinae (Ambush Bugs)


Found on August 17, 2016 in my Marigold patch. The experts on www.Bugguide.net identified it as one of the Jagged Ambush Bugs. They are predatory hunters, and often lie in wait on flowers. On the internet, you can find videos of them killing Bumble Bees, that are much larger that these Ambush Bugs. Not sure of species.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera (True Bugs)
Family: Reduviidae (Assassin Bugs)
Subfamily: Phymatinae (Ambush Bugs)
Genus: Jagged Ambush Bugs


Found on June 19, 2017 in my back yard. The experts on www.Bugguide.net identified it as a nymph of one of the Assassin Bugs.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera (True Bugs)
Family: Reduviidae (Assassin Bugs)
Genus: Velus (probably)



Family Cydnidae -- Burrowing bugs

This is a burrowing bug, part of the family Cydnidae. It is small (4mm ) and was found crawling across a back yard patio in Colorado Springs, on 15 April 2010. Typically, the adults spend the winter under leaf litter. This one was just getting started now that some warm weather has come to Colorado Springs. They feed on the roots of plants.

There are 43 different species in 13 Genera in North America. This one has not been identified down to species. It might be genus Microporus.

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Heteroptera (True Bugs)
Superfamily Pentatomoidea
Family Cydnidae (Burrowing Bugs)



Family Rhopalidae, Scentless plant bugs

An Eastern Box Elder bug, also called a Maple Bug. It is commonly found on Maple and Ash trees. Found 31 October 2008 in Colorado Springs, near a large Maple tree.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Rhopalidae
Subfamily: Serinethinae
Genus: Boisea
Species: B. trivittata


This is the nymph of the Eastern Box Elder bug, according to the experts on www.BugGuide.net. It was found in the roots of some crab grass I pulled up in my back yard. It was about 3mm in length. This picture was taken on 4 June 2012 in Colorado Springs.
There is a video of Boxelder nymphs on YouTube, at www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4akie0DmY.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Family: Rhopalidae
Subfamily: Serinethinae
Genus: Boisea
Species: B. trivittata


Family Pentatomidae -- stink bugs

This is from the genus Chlorochroa. It is probably the species Chlorochroa Sayi, Say's Stink Bug. It was captured on 2 December 2008 in Colorado Springs, and is about 1 cm long.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Infraorder: Pentatomomorpha
Superfamily: Pentatomoidea
Family: Pentatomidae (Stink bugs)
Genus: Chlorochroa
Species: C. Sayi (Say's Stink Bug, probably)


Family Gerridae -- Water Striders

Water Strider. Small bugs which walk and run on the surface of the water, using the water's surface tension to stay afloat. It was hard to get a photo of these, due to their reluctance to stay in one place and pose for pictures, and due to the reflections from the water. This one was maybe 3/8" in body length. Found at the Bear Creek Nature Center in Colorado Springs on 6 August 2011.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Heteroptera
Infraorder: Gerromorpha
Family: Gerridae

I went back to the same place on 11 August 2011 for more photos of the Water Striders.

Family Corixidae -- Water boatman

This is the nymph of a water boatman (family Corixidae). Captured on 15 August 2008 at the Fountain Creek Nature center, in one of their ponds. Size is about 1mm. Adults will be up to 13mm. It moves with a jerky motion. There are about 500 known species worldwide, in 33 genera. The picture was made with my Canon S2 IS camera in close-up mode.

the second picture is of another Water Boatman, about 4mm in length, 24 August 2008. Different markings, maybe different species?

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera (true bugs)
Suborder: Heteroptera
Infraorder: Nepomorpha
Family: Corixidae (Water boatmen)



Family Gryllidae -- Crickets

A Field cricket. Picture taken 9 June 2008 in Colorado Springs, CO.

The second picture was taken on 18 May 2010 also in Colorado Springs.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Ensifera
Superfamily: Grylloidea
Family: Gryllidae
Genus: Gryllus (Field Cricket)
Species: veletis (probably)

According to Wikipedia, there are about 900 species of Crickets, but the species G. veletis is very common in Colorado.


Another Field cricket, this one found in my garage on 5 November 2011.
This Tree Cricket was photographed by Alyssa Erickson on 24 September 2010 in Colorado Springs. It had been disturbing her with it's loud singing at night. Male Tree Crickets are noted for their loud singing. We are not sure of the species yet.

Family Tettigoniidea, Katydid

This picture was not clear enough to get a positive identification, and I originally thought it was a Tree Cricket of some variety. But Steph Johnson caught my mistake, and pointed out that it is a Broadwinged Katydid. I believe that they are also known as the Angle-wing Katydid. The picture was taken on 15 August 2008 at the Fountain Creek Nature center, but it was raining at the time, and the light was not good enough for a clear picture. It was on a Milkweed plant.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Family: Tettigoniidea (Katydid)
Genus: Microcentrum
Species: rhombifolium



Family Rhaphidophoridae, Camel Crickets, Cave Crickets, etc

This is either a Camel Cricket or a Cave Cricket. Found in my garage in Colorado Springs on 17 November 2011. They have no wings, a humped-back shape, and long antenna.

Fourth picture taken on 17 October 2012, also in my garage. Most likely, these are Camel Crickets.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Superfamily: Rhaphidophoroidea
Family: Rhaphidophoridae




Family Acrididae -- Locusts and most grasshoppers

Grasshopper. There are about 11,000 species of grasshoppers within the Suborder Caelifera.

The first two pictures were taken on 25 August 2008 in Colorado Springs. Identification has not been made for sure, but maybe it is a Two-striped Grasshopper, a very common variety. If so, then the classification is:

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Uniramia
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Caelifera
Superfamily: Acridoidea
Family: Acrididae
Subfamily: Melanoplinae
Genus: Melanoplus
Species: M. bivittatus

The third picture, taken 31 August 2008 at the Fountain Creek Nature Center, is not identified yet, but it is probably also a Two-striped Grasshopper.


This grasshopper was photographed by Alyssa Erickson in July 2009. It seems to match the pictures of the fourth instar (next to last) nymph of the Two-striped grasshopper above. See http://bugguide.net/node/view/61138.

Insects such as this grasshopper start as eggs, and go through several stages separated by a molt of their outer shell. Each stage is called an instar. This grasshopper will have one more molt, to the fifth instar, then a final molt after which it is an adult Two-striped grasshopper.

Notice in the picture that the wings are very small. With each instar, it will develop more characteristics of the adult grasshopper.

This is probably also an early instar of the Two-striped grasshopper. It was found on 23 July 2009 on a Sunflower plant in our flower garden. I see no sign of any wings in the photo, but there are two dark spots where the wings will appear during later stages.
Maybe this is a grasshopper in the genus Schistocerca. There are about 50 species. It was found in Colorado Springs, CO on 19 July 2009. It is 5 cm long, and it makes a lot of noise when it flies.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Caelifera
Family: Acrididae
Genus: Schistocerca

This one was found on 13 April 2010. It probably spent the winter as an adult, and is coming out of hibernation now. It is about 1 inch in length. Identification has not been made yet.
Another early riser, this one was found on 2 April 2011. It probably spent the winter as an adult, and is coming out of hibernation now. It was 2.5 cm in body length. Identification has not been made yet.
This appears to be a grasshopper nymph, due to the miniature wings. After the next change, it will probably be an adult. Found on 21 October 2011 in Colorado Springs. At this time of year, it will probably not have time for the next change.
This grasshopper might be one called the migratory grasshopper, but I am not 100% sure of that. Found and photographed in Colorado Springs on 30 August 2012. It is a large grasshopper, 5cm body length.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Orthoptera
Suborder: Caelifera
Superfamily: Acridoidea
Family: Acrididae
Subfamily: Melanoplinae
Genus: Melanoplus (Spur-throated)
Species: Sanguinipes (Migratory)


Family Eriococcidae, scale insects. About 550 known species.

These are European Elm Scales, Gossyparia spuria. These are females; the males are much smaller, like gnats, and are rarely seen. They were found on the base of a young Elm tree on 12 July 2008 in Colorado Springs. The identification was made by experts on bugguide.net/node/view/15740. That part of the Elm tree had been under a board, next to the ground, and that is what these insects prefer. They are small, about 2 mm.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hemiptera
Suborder: Sternorrhyncha (plant-parasitic Hemipterans)
Superfamily: Coccoidea (Scales and Mealhybugs)
Family: Eriococcidae (Scale insects)
Genus: Gossyparia
Species: spurai (European elm scale)


Family Baetidae, Small minnow Mayflies

This is called a Small Minnow Mayfly. There are about 900 species in this family, and I have not been able to narrow it down to genus and species. According to Wikipedia, the males often have very large eyes, so this must be a male. It was at our back door on 28 July 2010. About 9mm body length.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Palaeoptera (disputed)
Superorder: Ephemeropteroidea
Order: Ephemeroptera
Suborder: Schistonota
Superfamily: Baetoidea
Family: Baetidae



Family Chrysopidae

This is a Green Lacewing, found on 28 June 2009 on the back wall of my house, near a light which is on 24/7. There is much confusion and disagreement about the classification of these, and many species.

The second picture was taken on 31 July 2010, same place. The third picture was taken on 5 September 2011, same place.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Endopterygota or Neuropterida
Order: Neuroptera
Suborder: Hemerobiiformia
Superfamily: Osmyloidea
Family: Chrysopidae
Genus: Chrysopa or Chrysoperla (very similar)


This photo was taken by Alyssa Erickson on 5 August 2014 in Colorado Springs, showing one of the leaves of an Iris plant in her yard. It shows a row of eggs, each mounted on a stalk. The folks at www.bugguide.net say that these are the eggs of a Green Lacewing. Probably there is a survival value with each egg on it's own stalk, since there would be less chance of cannibalism among the newly hatched larva.

Family Myrmeleontidae -- Antlion

Also spelled Ant-lion and Ant Lion.
This is an Antlion. At first, I thought it must be a dragonfly, but the antenna and the way it can lay it's wings back makes me think it is not a dragonfly. The experts on bugguide.net/node/view/15740 identified it for me.
The larva of this species looks like this . Found 1 August 2009 in Colorado Springs. Length 1 1/8 inches.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Infraclass: Neoptera
Superorder: Endopterygota or Neuropterida
Order: Neuroptera
Suborder: Myrmeleontiformia
Superfamily: Myrmeleontoidea
Family: Myrmeleontidae (Antlions)
Genus: Myrmeleon
Species: exitialis



Another one, found in Colorado Springs on 20 July 2014.



Family Cicadellidae -- Leafhoppers

This is some version of a Leafhopper. It is small, less than 4mm. It jumped quickly and at large distance like a flea. I kept it in the refrigerator for a while, but it was so small it warmed up quickly, and it jumped somewhere after one quick and blurry picture. There were several of them on my Sunflowers on 23 July 2009.

Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hemiptera (True Bugs, Cicadas, Hoppers, Aphids and Allies)
Suborder Auchenorrhyncha (Free-living Hemipterans)
Superfamily Cicadoidea
Family Cicadellidae (Leafhoppers)

This is the larva stage of some insect, but I have no idea what. Identification will be pending. The people who are good at identifying these things usually put them into terrariums, and see what mature insect develops.

I caught this one on my front driveway on 31 May 2009, where it was being attacked by three pavement ants.