Beetle like bug with bright yellow on the top of the body, black underneath, and a small read head.
May 2, 2010
I saw this bug walking down my driveway and was really amazed by it! I have lived in Phoenix, Arizona for 57 years and have never seen anything like it! It was between 3/4″ and 1″ in length. It had bright yellow on the top, maybe wings, maybe not. There was a black line down the center and black lines slanting from about two thirds down the body outward and down like a peace sign on it’s back. These lines were noticeable but not thick. Mostly, all I could see was this bright yellow bug with a small red head. There wasn’t a segment between the main body and the head, just the body and the head. The head was squarish and really, really red! I have attached a rather crude drawing. I hope it rings a bell for someone.
Sun City, Arizona
There is little doubt in our mind that you saw an Iron Cross Blister Beetle, probably Tegrodera algoa which is featured on BugGuide. This is the fourth letter requesting an identification from Phoenix this week, so the beetles might be especially plentiful this year due to the rains. We are setting your letter to post on Mother’s Day as we are taking a holiday to visit Mom in Ohio and we do not want to deprive our loyal readership of a daily update on the insect world.
I don’t think this is the same bug. There wasn’t a ridge down the center of the back, the black lines on the back were not as prominent and not like a cross but like a peace sign. There was no segment between the body and the head and the head was square. Like I said, I have never seen a bug like this. I sure wish I had been able to catch it and get a photo. Might it be a mutant cousin?
We stand by our original identification. Since there is no photograph, we cannot confirm nor deny.
Ed. Note: Often identifications based on photographs are difficult, but identifications based on crude drawings are nearly impossible. Let us know if you think we made the right call.