Subject: Inornate Checkered Beetle Eating Grasshopper Eggs?
Location: Albuquerque, NM
May 20, 2014 6:37 pm
Lately I’ve run across several strange beetles in the house of a type that I don’t remember having seen before. I looked around on Bugguide.net for a while and think I’ve managed to identify them as Inornate Checkered Beetles. There doesn’t seem to be much information on this particular species, but a quick internet search indicates that some checkered beetle species feed on grasshoppers and grasshopper eggs, and we’ve been having a local explosion of grasshoppers lately. (Third picture is an example of one of these grasshoppers.) What do you think?
We have researched the Inornate Checkered Beetle, Cymatodera inornata, which we have located on BugGuide., and we believe you have correctly identified the genus, but the species may be incorrect because the distribution map for the Inornate Checkered Beetle does not contain any sightings west of the Mississippi River. The description of the species on BugGuide indicates its range as being: “Eastern N. Amer. to UT & AZ,” supporting your identification of the species. Another member of the genus, Cymatodera dietrichi, looks very similar and is found in New Mexico and Texas, according to BugGuide. Of the genus, BugGuide notes: “adults are predaceous, feeding (in part) on the larvae of gall wasps, fruit tree lepidoptera, and wood-boring beetles” and there is no mention of Grasshoppers.
Your identification of the Pallid Winged Grasshopper, Trimerotropis pallidipennis, appears to be correct based on images on BugGuide. We don’t believe there is any relationship between the appearance of the Checkered Beetles and the large number of Grasshoppers, but we might be wrong.
Thanks! We still get plenty of wood-boring beetles and fruit tree lepidoptera around here too, so the checkered beetles will still be able to find plenty to eat even without the grasshoppers!