Currently viewing the category: "Leaf Beetles"

Subject:  Can you ID this beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Merritt Island, Brevard County, FL
Date: 08/12/2021
Time: 02:52 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
Hoping you can ID these beetles, which are located on (and apparently snacking on) railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae) in a residential landscape. These are about twice the size of your standard issue ladybug beetle. Photo taken Aug. 12, 2021, mid-afternoon, south facing planting bed.
How you want your letter signed:  LG

Tortoise Beetle

Dear LG,
We quickly found your Tortoise Beetle,
Chelymorpha cribraria, on Featured Creatures where it states:  “The genus Chelymorpha Boheman contains more than 100 species, which are mostly Neotropical in distribution. Two species have been recorded (Blatchley 1924) previously from Florida: Chelymorpha cassidea (Fabricius) and Chelymorpha geniculata Boheman. The endemic Florida Chelymorpha geniculata has had a checkered taxonomic history. It is often considered either a synonym or subspecies of Chelymorpha cassidea (Balbaugh and Hays 1972). Both are uniformly tan to red-brown in color with 12 to 14 black spots on the elytra and four to six on the pronotum. Chelymorpha cribraria is extremely polymorphic in color (Vasconcellos-Neto 1988), and most of the color forms have been described as separate species. Only two color forms have been found in Florida so far. The most common color form in Florida is bicolored, with pronotum black and elytra brick-red or tan. Much less common is the color form having a tan ground color with metallic reflections, numerous black speckles, and longitudinal red stripes on the elytra.”  According to BugGuide:  “adventive in FL (established), native to S. America & West Indies” and “showed up in so. FL following hurricane Andrew (Sep. 1993). ”  The species has no common name.

Tortoise Beetles

Thank you very much! I was sorta on the right track: was thinking leaf beetles but just didn’t find the magic word combo to get me to the Featured Creatures entry or anywhere else that made me think I was on the right track for sure. Had I used “tortoise beetle,” I probably would’ve found it. Anyway, again, thanks!

Subject:  Blue Milkweed Beetles
Geographic location of the bug: Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park, California
Date: 06/04/2021
Time: 9:25 AM PDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Readers,
Daniel was out hiking near the Getty Museam in a Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy park when he pointed out the Narrow-Leaf Milkweed that was just beginning to bloom to his hiking partners Naeemah and Sharon.  Some plants had numerous Blue Milkweed Beetles feeding on the leaves.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae are obligate root feeders, and adults eat the leaves of larval host plants. Females are highly polyandrous, males engage in extended periods of post-copulatory mate guarding.”

Blue Milkweed Beetle

Milkweed is a very popular plant with many pollinating insects including butterflies, bees and wasps. so many years ago we created a Milkweed Meadow tag for the complex ecosystem that is associated with milkweed.

Blue Milkweed Beetle and Honey Bee

Update:  June 19, 2021  Mating Blue Milkweed Beetles
This weekend while hiking at the same location with Sharon and Melanie, Daniel spotted a solitary pair of mating Blue Milkweed Beetles.  He managed to get one image before the presumably male Blue Milkweed Beetle dropped to the ground.  Daniel felt somewhat guilty that his voyeurism led to coitus interruptus.

Mating Blue Milkweed Beetles


Subject:  bug with debris on top
Geographic location of the bug:  southeast Louisiana
Date: 06/03/2020
Time: 08:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  There were three of these critters on a tomato plant this May.  At first I just though they were large frass or small bird dropings.  On a closer look, I saw there were leg-like projections. I gently teased the debris off of one and discovered a beautiful, delicite being with what looked like a smiling frog face staring up at me.
How you want your letter signed:  Art

Clavate Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Art,
This is the larva of a Clavate Tortoise Beetle, Plagiometriona clavata, and the debris on its back is fecal matter and it thought to act as camouflage or protection for the larva.  Here is a BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide food plants include:  “ground-cherries (Physalis), Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), and Solanum spp. (Solanaceae)” and tomatoes are in the family Solanaceae.

Subject:  Pretty beetle found on fishing pier
Geographic location of the bug:  Florida
Date: 02/18/2020
Time: 11:01 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this handsome gentleman hiding in-between two slabs of concrete on a marine fishing pier. He’s very pretty! What does he eat? I’m not entirely sure why’d he prefer being close to the ocean- it just doesn’t look like he belongs!
How you want your letter signed:  Chance Arceneaux

Flea Beetle:  Disonycha pensylvanica

Dear Chance,
We believe we have identified this Leaf Beetle as
Disonycha pensylvanica thanks to this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide:  “For the most part found near aquatic habitats” and “Normal hosts are Polygonum spp. including smartweed.”

Subject:  Beetles Matting
Geographic location of the bug:peter Laugheed Park, Alberta, Canada
Date: 08/11/2019
Time: 12:48 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Found these bettles matting on Foxtail Barley along lake shore. Currious as to what they are.
How you want your letter signed:  Larry Halverson

Mating Red Turnip Beetles

Dear Larry,
Because we quickly recognized these as Leaf Beetles in the family Chrysomelidae, we were able to identify them as mating Red Turnip Beetles,
Entomoscelis americana, on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “occasional pest of canola, rapeseed and mustard in the northern Great Plains; may also damage other crucifer crops (turnips, cabbage). Larvae and adults feed on plants at night.”

Mating Red Turnip Beetles

Thanks for your quick responce. Very interesting – Will let my son-in-law (a canola farmer) know about these as he saw them too although his farm is hunders of miles away

Subject:  Yellow Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Bismarck, ND
Date: 07/25/2019
Time: 07:24 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  The stripes are dark blue and hisses when disturbed. About 1/4” long.
How you want your letter signed:  R. Green

Three Lined Potato Beetle

Dear R. Green,
This looks to us like a Three Lined Potato Beetle,
Lema daturaphila, which is pictured on BugGuide.  There is no mention on BugGuide of stridulation, which is the hissing sound you heard the beetle make by rubbing together parts of its body.  This comment “I remember the first time I heard them squeaking like little birds when I picked them up” appears on another BugGuide posting.

Thank you so much! It does make chirps and squeaks and small hisses. It’s a strange little thing!