All About Cleridae: A Fast Introduction to These Fascinating Beetles

Cleridae, commonly known as checkered beetles, are a diverse family of insects found within the order Coleoptera. Their unique appearance is characterized by elongate, parallel-sided bodies covered in long, bristly hairs, and they often sport bright, contrasting colors, such as yellow, red, orange, or blue against a black background.

These beetles lead varied lifestyles, with some acting as insect predators, while others function as scavengers or pollen feeders. A comprehensive mitochondrial genome-based phylogenetic study of Cleridae sheds light on their evolutionary history, tracing their origins back to around 160 million years ago during the mid-Jurassic period.

Cleridae Classification

Order Coleoptera

Cleridae belongs to the order Coleoptera, which comprises the diverse group of beetles. This order consists of a large number of species with various sizes, shapes, and colors. Some unique characteristics of beetles under this order include:

  • Hardened forewings called elytra
  • Chewing mouthparts

Superfamily Cleroidea

Within order Coleoptera, Cleridae is categorized under the superfamily Cleroidea. This group of beetles demonstrates a broad range of body shapes and feeding habits.

Family Cleridae

Family Cleridae, commonly known as checkered beetles, is a cosmopolitan family containing around 3,500 species worldwide. The family exhibits diverse and brightly patterned colors. Some features of beetles in this family are:

  • Hairy bodies
  • Long and narrow shapes
  • Wide head and tapering thorax

An example of a checkered beetle is Clerus mutillarius: a striking red and black species.

Subfamilies

Family Cleridae is further divided into four main subfamilies. Let’s explore these subfamilies briefly.

Korynetinae

KORYNETINAE is a subfamily with specific characteristics. Physical features of Korynetinae beetles often include:

  • Elongated bodies
  • Distinctive antennae

Tillinae

TILLINAE is another subfamily within Family Cleridae. Its members are known for the following characteristics:

  • Pronounced dorsal surface patterns
  • Predacious nature

Clerinae

This subfamily, CLERINAE, is one of the largest and most varied within the Checkered beetles. Characteristics of Clerinae beetles are:

  • Variable body shapes
  • Vivid color patterns

Hydnocerinae

Lastly, HYDNOCERINAE is a subfamily known for a few distinguishable features, which consist of:

  • Pronounced elytral ridges
  • Predatory habits

In summary, Cleridae beetles are classified under Order Coleoptera and Superfamily Cleroidea, with various characteristics displayed by its four primary subfamilies: Korynetinae, Tillinae, Clerinae, and Hydnocerinae.

Identification and Description

Checkered Beetles

Checkered beetles, also known as Cleridae, are a captivating family of beetles known for their distinctive appearance and diverse behaviors. Here’s a quick guide to help you identify and appreciate these fascinating insects.

Size and Shape

  • Elongate, parallel-sided bodies
  • Covered in long, bristly hairs1

Coloration

  • Brightly colored with patches of yellow, red, orange, or blue1
  • Contrasting patterns against a black body1

Habitat and Diet

  • Some species are insect predators1
  • Others are scavengers or pollen feeders1

Comparison Table

Feature Checkered Beetles
Family Cleridae
Size Elongate, parallel-sided bodies
Hairs Long, bristly hairs covering the body
Colors Yellow, red, orange, blue patches1
Behavior Insect predators, scavengers, or pollen feeders1

Overall, checkered beetles are easily identifiable by their vivid colors and elongate bodies. Their diverse behaviors as predators, scavengers, or pollen feeders add to their ecological importance. Keep an eye out for these vibrant and unique creatures next time you’re exploring the great outdoors!

Distribution and Habitat

Range

Cleridae, also known as checkered beetles, can be found in various regions across the globe. They are predominantly present in:

  • North America
  • Central America
  • South America
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Australia

Habitats

Forests and Woodlands

Cleridae inhabit a variety of habitats, with forests and woodlands being the most common. In these environments, they often prey on bark beetles, which are known to infest and damage trees. Examples of areas where both Cleridae and bark beetles can be found include:

  • Temperate forests
  • Boreal forests
  • Tropical and subtropical forests and woodlands

Logs and other Wooden Structures

Cleridae can also thrive in other habitats where wood, dead trees, or wooden structures are present. These areas provide a conducive environment for bark beetles to thrive, which directly benefits Cleridae due to their predation on these pests.

Some examples of these habitats are:

  • Old-growth forests with dead trees
  • Forests with fallen logs
  • Parks and urban areas with wooden structures such as benches

Comparison Table

Cleridae Bark Beetles
Predatory beetles Pests to trees
Found in various habitats Primarily in timber habitats
Control bark beetle population Can cause significant damage to trees

Diet and Behavior

Predators

Cleridae, also known as checkered beetles, are generally predators that feed on various insects. Their diet includes:

  • Wood-boring beetles
  • Bark beetles
  • Scale insects

For example, they can help control populations of bark beetles, which can damage trees. When it comes to comparing their feeding habits, Cleridae can be distinguished by:

Hunting Tactics Cleridae Predators Other Beetles
Method of attack Active hunting and ambush Passive ambush
Prey Wood-boring beetles Wood-boring beetles, ants
Habitat Tree barks and forests Tree barks, leaf litter

Scavengers

Some Cleridae also act as scavengers, feeding on various organic materials like:

  • Dead insects
  • Decaying wood
  • Carrion

For instance, the Necrobia spp. is a scavenging species that feeds on both live and dead insects, with a preference for carrion. The scavenging behavior of Cleridae involves:

  • Locating decomposing materials
  • Consuming the soft tissues

A primary pro of scavenging is the opportunity to locate a more abundant food source, while a con is the potential competition with other scavengers. Cleridae’s role as scavengers contributes to the decomposition process, recycling nutrients in the ecosystem.

Biological Control

Role in Pest Management

Cleridae, also known as checkered beetles, are important biological control agents in pest management. They feed on various insect pests like bark beetles and wood borers, helping reduce their population.

These beetles use pheromones to locate their prey. Pheromones are chemical signals insects release to communicate with each other. Cleridae can detect these signals, which helps them track down and control pest populations effectively.

Pros of using Cleridae in pest management:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Reduces the need for chemical pesticides
  • Targets specific pests

Cons of using Cleridae in pest management:

  • May require monitoring and release programs
  • Not effective against all pests
  • Takes time to establish populations in the field
Method Pros Cons
Cleridae Beetles Environmentally friendly, Targets specific pests May require monitoring, Not effective against all pests

Here are some features of Cleridae for pest management:

  • Effective predators of insect pests
  • Use pheromones for locating prey
  • Can be introduced as part of an integrated pest management plan

Characteristics of Cleridae:

  • Checkered pattern on body
  • Antennae with distinct club shape
  • Predatory, mainly feeding on insect pests

Notable Cleridae Species

Enoclerus

Enoclerus is a genus of checkered beetles with over 200 species found in various habitats around the world1. Some key features of Enoclerus beetles include:

  • Vibrant colors and patterns on their exoskeleton
  • Predatory nature, feeding on other insects and pests

Phyllobaenus

Phyllobaenus beetles are known for their unique appearance and diverse diet2. Key characteristics of this genus include:

  • Elongated bodies covered in bristly hairs
  • Brightly-colored patterns
  • Diet consists of insects, scavenging, and pollen feeding

Isohydnocera

Isohydnocera is another group of checkered beetles within the Cleridae family3. Some important features are:

  • Smaller and more narrow body compared to other genera
  • Often found in wooded habitats

Cymatodera

Cymatodera are checkered beetles with a distinctive shape and design4. Characteristics of this genus include:

  • Tapered thorax and wider elytra
  • Patterns varying from spots to stripes

Placopterus

The Placopterus genus of checkered beetles is known for their robust appearance and intriguing colors5. Features of Placopterus beetles include:

  • Heavily-built compared to other genera
  • Vivid coloration with intricate patterns

Comparison Table

Genus Size Body Shape Color/Patterns Diet/Feeding
Enoclerus Medium Varied Vibrant Predatory
Phyllobaenus Small-ish Elongated Bright Diverse
Isohydnocera Small/Narrow Slender Varies Predatory
Cymatodera Medium Tapered thorax/wider elytra Spots/Stripes Insects
Placopterus Large Robust Vivid/Intricate Unknown

Phylogeny and Evolution

Mitochondrial Genome

The mitochondrial genome plays a crucial role in understanding the phylogeny and evolution of the Cleridae family. A recent study investigated the mitochondrial genomes of Cleridae, revealing insights into their nucleotide composition, codon usage, and substitutional rate. These aspects are vital for understanding the phylogenetic inter-relationships and mitochondrial biology of these beetles.

Examples of notable features found in the Cleridae mitochondrial genomes include:

  • High AT content
  • Typical codon usage pattern for insects
  • Truncated genes

Divergence-Time Estimation

Estimating the divergence time of Cleridae is essential for understanding when they first appeared in history. The same study mentioned earlier performed a molecular clock analysis to estimate the divergence time. It found that the earliest divergence time of Cleridae was not later than 160.18 Mya (mid-Jurassic period).

Comparing Cleridae to other closely related families, such as Melyridae, can provide insights into divergence time:

Family Estimated Divergence Time
Cleridae 160.18 Mya
Melyridae

Phylogenetic Relationships

The phylogenetic relationships of Cleridae are essential to understanding their taxonomy and evolution. Using mitochondrial genome data, scientists can infer the evolutionary relationships within the family. The suborder Polyphaga includes both Cleridae and Melyridae, which share some common ancestors.

Here are some key points related to the phylogenetic relationships of Cleridae:

  • Cleridae is a monophyletic group
  • Relationships among subfamilies are well-resolved
  • Cleridae and Melyridae are closely related within the suborder Polyphaga

Understanding the phylogeny and evolution of Cleridae helps scientists classify and study these fascinating beetles more effectively. By examining their mitochondrial genomes, estimating divergence times, and analyzing phylogenetic relationships, researchers can uncover the rich history of Cleridae and continue to explore their intriguing biological characteristics.

Footnotes

  1. Family Cleridae – ENT 425 – General Entomology 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
  2. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/348003-Phyllobaenus
  3. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/817696-Isohydnocera
  4. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/350203-Cymatodera
  5. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/337187-Placopterus

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Checkered Beetle

 

small, rust-colored but with black stripes/markings around tail
Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 3:32 PM
I was outside and a small (maybe 1/2″) bug flew into my shirt. It may have bitten me, but I’m not sure. It’s rust-colored with some black stripes or markings around its tail. It has wings. I’ve attached a photo of it. I’ve never seen a bug like this before. Could it be poisonous? Do you think it could have bitten me? Thanks for any help you can provide.
Anne
Nashville, TN

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Hi Anne,
We are always amused at the number of people who write to us wanting “buts” identified.  This is one of the most commonly encountered species of Checkered Beetles, Enoclerus nigripes.  It is entirely possible that it bit you, but Checkered Beetles do not bite people except when threatened.  They are not poisonous.  BugGuide has numerous nice images of this species.

Letter 2 – Blister Beetle from Greece

 

clerid beetle from greece
Sun, Dec 7, 2008 at 9:58 AM
i found this guy in Therbenoxoria,greece,at the village called Prasino.
it was found on a plant on a rocky hill during the day. Any possible ID’s?
thanks,LEO
Therbenoxoria, Prasino village, Greece

Unknown Checkered Beetle from Greece
Blister Beetle from Greece

Hi Leo,
We are afraid we need to wait for some specialist in Checkered Beetles to provide you with a species or genus name on your specimen. We will also attempt to post your other letters, but we have a limited amount of time that we may spend on postings.

Daniel:
The “checkered beetle from Greece” is actually a blister beetle, family Meloidae.
I’ll see if I can’t get some more specifics for the Grecian beetles in general for you…
Eric Eaton

Daniel:
It does look like a blister beetle, probably in the Genus Mylabris . There are a number of European and Near East species that look like possibilities, but the closest appears to be M. quadripunctata. Regards.
Karl

Letter 3 – Checkered Beetle

 

Odd Striped Ant
Location: Upstate NY
November 4, 2010 3:34 am
I found this little ant-like creature crawling up the inside of my pants. Felt like it might have bit me but it could have just been his/her jagged legs.
Any idea on what this insect is?
Signature: Jillian

Checkered Beetle

Hi Jillian,
You have had a close encounter with a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, and it appears as though it is
Thanasimus dubius according to images posted to BugGuide.  The family page on BugGuide offers this information:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.

Letter 4 – Blister Beetle: Tricrania stansburyi

 

Subject: Fence Post Beetle
Location: Ola, Idaho
April 29, 2013 10:24 pm
Here is a photo of a beetle I spotted on a fence post. It seemed like these were quite common in the area; most wooden fence posts had one or two of these lounging about. This was taken at an altitude of about 4000 feet in late April near Ola, Idaho. If need be I have about ten more good photos of this type of beetle.
Signature: Buck Rekow

Possibly Checkered Beetle
Blister Beetle:  Tricrania stansburyi

Hi Buck,
Alas, we are zero for two with your requests this morning.  We love your photographs.  Our initial thought is that this might be a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we are not certain.  Our initial search did not turn up any matches and we must leave to go to work.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide an ID in our absence.

Correction:  Blister Beetle
Thanks to a correction by Tenodera, we have now come to the conclusion that this is a Blister Beetle,
Tricrania stansburyi, and this can be verified on BugGuide.

If you enjoy the photos, here are two more of the beetle. One gives a clearer view of the mandibles. If the quality is not great enough, you can discard them.

Blister Beetle
Blister Beetle

Thanks so much for the additional photos.

Blister Beetle
Blister Beetle

Letter 5 – Checkered Beetle

 

Insect identification
Hey, sorry to bother you, but I was trying to figure out what type of insect this is and haven’t been having a lot of luck figuring it out. I’m doing a series of insect photos as my blog theme this week, and wanted to use this image for tomorrow’s entry.Any help would be greatly appreciated. Best,
Mike Thompson
Mike Thompson Photography & Design
Orinda CA

Hi Mike,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, probably the genus Trichodes as pictured on BugGuide. We are not certain of the species, but perhaps Eric Eaton can assist with that.

Letter 6 – Checkered Beetle

 

desert bug
Location: Death Valley National Park. thank you for your time.
Brian

Hi Brian,
Thanks for writing back with a location. People don’t realize how helpful that information is, especially since we deal with so many foreign identifications. We believe this is a Checkered Beetle in the genus Trichodes. The markings are consistant with the Ornate Checkered Beetle, Trichodes ornatus, but the coloration is closer to other members in the genus. We want Eric Eaton to weigh in on this. Eric writes: ” I agree wilth your IDs on both the checkered beetle (Trichodes ornatus) and the longhorn (Plinthocoelium suaveeolens). How come ‘I’ never find such gaudy critters?”

Letter 7 – Checkered Beetle

 

Checkered or Blister Beetle?
I looked through your section on beetles and couldn’t find this species. From what I looked at on your site and in books I’m assuming it is some type of checkered beetle or possibly a blister beetle. It was found outside of our nature center in Rockledge, FL. Could you identify it for us? Thank you.
Brandon Smith, Environmental Program Coordinator
Riverwalk Nature Center, Rockledge, FL

Hi Brandon,
This is certainly a Checkered Beetle. It looks like Enoclerus muttkowskii according to the images on BugGuide.
Eric Eaton is of the opinion that: “The checkered beetle is probably Enoclerus ichneumoneus.”

Letter 8 – Checkered Beetle

 

from New Mexico
This bug is after the pollen on our prairie coneflowers. There are many of them this year and we had never noticed them before. Are they some kind of wasp, or some kind of beetle? Thanks,
Juan Ortega

Hi Juan,
This is some species of Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we do not know which species. Perhaps Eric Eaton will write in with that answer.

Update (06/26/2007) From Eric Eaton:
“My friend Jacques Rifkind, a world authority on Cleridae, identified the checkered beetle from New Mexico as Trichodes bibalteatus. We don’t even have that one on Bugguide, I don’t think. Lovely shot, too…. Eric ”

Letter 9 – Checkered Beetle

 

Beautiful Red Beetle
July 15, 2009
I’ve seen these small active red beetles in Oklahoma woodlands all of my life, over 50 years, but never have identified them. They are very showy and run or fly readily to escape. They are active in the hottest times of the summer in the daytime. I found this one in mid-July in central Oklahoma on a 105 F degree-day. I’ve never seen them in groups only as singles. It’s about a third of an inch long.
K. Hopkins
Oklahoma, USA

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear K.,
We didn’t realize we were answering two of your letters back to back.  This is a Checkered Beetle, Enoclerus ichneumoneus. You may find matching images on BugGuide.  After opening five different large files for your photographs, the photo instructor in us feels compelled to tell you that you have a lot of visual noise.  Try changing the sensitivity to light (ISO) or some other resolution factor which is causing your otherwise marvelous images to be degraded.

Letter 10 – Checkered Beetle

 

Not a Lady Bug, but a ???
November 23, 2009, 5:52 PM
Found this beetle bug dying in our house today. I have noticed several of these beetles on the vinyl siding of our house, but this is the first one I have seen inside. We recently treated our carpets with pyrethrins as the kitty brought flees in with her. The pics were taken as the beetle was dying and penny added for scale.
A bit more info about our location. We are in central Kentucky and recently bought a house that backs up to a farm that has planted soy beans for the past two years.
Any help ID’ing this critter would be greatly appreciated as I want to make sure it is not a destructive type of pest.
Worried in KY
Central KY

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Found it!
6:04 PMNovember 23, 2009
Found the info about the beetle that came inside and died. It is a checkered beetle and I am assuming that since we had an ice storm last year they are feeding on the wood borers that are chewing on the dead wood in the tree line between our house and the soybean field. Thank you for your help!
Not Worried in KY
Central KY

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Not Worried in KY, formerly Worried in KY,
We are thrilled to see that within 12 minutes, you correctly identified your Checkered Beetle on our website.  More information on the Checkered Beetle family Cleridae can be found on BugGuide.

Update:  July 24, 2016
While attempting to identify a newly submitted Checkered Beetle, we realized this individual also appears to be
Enoclerus ichneumoneus.

Letter 11 – Checkered Beetle

 

What is this?
Location: cocoa, fl
November 26, 2010 12:10 am
We found this the other day and it looks kinda like an ant of some sort then it flew away…
Signature: huh?

Checkered Beetle

Dear huh?,
You encountered a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, and it appears to be
Enoclerus ichneumoneus based on an image we matched on BugGuideThe family page on BugGuide contains this information:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.

Letter 12 – Checkered Beetle

 

black beetle with long yellow spots
Location: Colorado Mountains Eastern Slope 8500 feet
July 11, 2011 3:28 pm
This beetle is on a wild potentilla (cinquefoil) plant in our forest on the eastern slope of the Colorado Rockies at 8500 feet. I thought it looked similar to a cucumber beetle, but I don’t believe that’s what it is. Can you help me with an identification?
Signature: Eric Christensen

Checkered Beetle

Hi Eric,
We wish your photo depicted the antennae.  We are nearly certain that this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, and it might be the highly variable Ornate Checkered Beetle,
Trichodes ornatus.  This individual on BugGuide has very subtle spotting like your individual and this example from BugGuide even more so.

Letter 13 – Checkered Beetle

 

Bug
Location: Wittmann, AZ 85361
November 6, 2011 1:07 pm
Hi
We found this bug in our house in Mobile Gardens in Wittmann, Arizona. We have tried to identify it with no luck. My son took the picture and then let it free outside. This would have been around mid October, 2011.
Signature: Ken Matchett

Checkered Beetle

Hi Ken,
Our initial impression was that this is a Checkered Beetle, and upon researching on
BugGuide, we have confirmed that suspicion, and we believe it might be Enoclerus quadrisignatus.  According to BugGuide, the species is “Highly variable” and “Ferocious predators of wood boring beetles.”

Letter 14 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: Orange Bug on Tulip Poplar
Location: Great Falls, VA
November 13, 2012 3:48 pm
I noticed recently that some of the large branches on a 150+ year old tulip poplar have been debarked. This is in northern virginia.
Yesterday, i found a number of ant-like insects on the tree. They have 6 legs and seem to have two defined body segments.
If you look at the insect from tail to head, it has a bright orange behind, a black horizontal stripe, and an orange top to the main body. The head is reddish orange. The legs are black.
I’d like to find out what kind of insect this is. I’ve never seen anything like it. The closest thing i can find is a cow killer, but those are furry. This is smoothe with no real fur.
Thanks for your help.
Signature: john marciano

Checkered Beetle

Hi John,
This little beauty is a Checkered Beetle, possibly
Enoclerus ichneumoneus Checkered Beetles are not damaging your tree, and they are most likely feeding on insects that might be negatively impacting the health of the tree.  According to BugGuide:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.” 

Letter 15 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: Orange bug~
Location: Western Maryland
November 22, 2014 12:26 pm
I was doing some cleaning around my apartment and I went to move my exercise ball and found this orange striped beauty. I have never seen one like it before. I took a picture of it then moved it outside.
Signature: Bugs are Friends

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, possibly Enoclerus muttkowskii which is pictured on BugGuide.  Checkered Beetles, according to BugGuide, are;:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.”

Letter 16 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: Mystery beetle in our house
Location: Seattle, WA
March 21, 2016 10:35 pm
Hello,
I am hoping you can help identify these black orange beetles that suddenly appeared in our house. We’re not sure who they are or where they came from. They appeared recently (March) and can be found on walls, furniture, or ceilings. Thank you!
PS> the one in the photo got squished a little during the capture 🙁
Signature: Kira

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Kira,
We believe we have correctly identified your Checkered Beetle as
Enoclerus cupressi based on this BugGuide image.  The genus page on BugGuide states the habitat is “Woodland; found under bark, in galls, around woody plants, rarely on foliage” and the food is “Both larvae and adults are generally predacious. Some adults feed on pollen, some species are attracted to carrion and ‘stored animal products.'”  Since you have found numbers of them in your home, we suspect they may be feeding on a dead animal in the walls or perhaps some “stored animal products” are the cause of their appearance.  The Checkered Beetles are not a problem, but their presence may be a symptom of something that may need attention.

Letter 17 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject:  Weird biting insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Southeast Nebraska
Date: 11/21/2017
Time: 12:17 PM EDT
What the heck is this? It was in my house and latched onto my boyfriend’sneck when he tried to brush it away. It was not a painful bite but it did latch on.
How you want your letter signed:  Karen Heusinkvelt

Checkered Beetle

Dear Karen,
This is a Checkered Beetle, and they are not dangerous to humans.  Based on this BugGuide image, we suspect it is either
Enoclerus vetus or a related species in the same genus.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae and adults are predacious; adults may feed on pollen, some species are attracted to carrion and ‘stored animal products.'”

Thank you! I posted the picture on Facebook and nobody around here had ever seen one. Thanks again!

Letter 18 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject:  Thin shaped orange-red bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Western Washington State
Date: 05/10/2019
Time: 01:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
We found this beetle like bug inside of our house, I couldn’t find an exact match that looked like it. Do you know what it is?
How you want your letter signed:  Kaylan

Checkered Beetle

Dear Kaylan,
We identified this Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae as
Enoclerus eximius thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  Of the genus, BugGuide notes:  “larvae and adults are predacious; adults may feed on pollen, some species are attracted to carrion and ‘stored animal products.'”

Letter 19 – Checkered Beetle from Australia

 

Subject: What is it?
Location: Sydney
December 23, 2014 5:09 am
Hoping you can identify.
Found on a cruise ship that had travelled from Brisbane in Queensland, prior to this in South Pacific Islands. Nov 28th this yr.
Thanks for your efforts!
Signature: Zeb

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Zeb,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we are not certain of the species.  There are several similar looking individuals on the Insects of Brisbane website as well as on the Cleridae of Australia site where an image of
Trogodendron fasciculatum looks like a very close match.

Letter 20 – Checkered Beetle from Australia

 

Subject: It’s watching me…
Location: Sydney, Australia
November 6, 2016 8:22 pm
Hi Bugman,
Found this little specimen buzzing around my bedroom this morning, I assume it flew it the back door when I had it open.
It’s about 30mm long
Any help with an ID would be great, as I have never seen anything like it in the garden before.
Thanks
Signature: Mark

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Mark,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we are not certain of the species.  It looks similar to
 Scrobiger albocinctus which is pictured on the Brisbane Insect site where it states:  “The beetle has large eyes and bright yellow antenna. Its large and strong mandible suggested it is a predator. Its wing covers are black in colour with pink at the back, separated by a white line across. This beetle was found on gum leaf in Karawatha Forest during mid summer. The beetle was walking on leaves and stems, waving its antenna, seemed searching for something. The beetle was slow moving and did not quite response to our interrupt. ”  It also resembles Trogodendron fasciculatum which is pictured on Csiro.  

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Never mind!
Its this guy –> http://www.ozanimals.com/Insect/Yellow-horned-Clerid/Trogodendron/fasciculatum.html
Thanks

Letter 21 – Checkered Beetle Carnage

 

Subject: Never seen a bug like this in my 32yrs.
Location: Northern illinois
July 23, 2016 8:33 pm
At first glance I thought it was an ant….and so did my 3yr old who was freaking out yelling about it climbing on the chair in the house by her.
We live in northern Illinois. Its hot, and humid currently.
After killing said big I looked at it and realized its like no ant I’ve seen before. In fact I’ve never seen this bug before. I’ve searched the depths of the internet high and low trying to identify it.
I think it may be a beetle of some sort?
It is the only one we have seen here at home.
Any information you can give would be greatly appreciated!
Signature: Amber Johnson

Checkered Beetle Carnage
Checkered Beetle Carnage

Dear Amber,
This is a beneficial Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, and we believe we might have correctly identified it as
Enoclerus ichneumoneus thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  Of the family, BugGuide notes:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.”  We hope that should you encounter a Checkered Beetle in the future, you would not allow your child’s “freaking out yelling” to cause another incident of what we consider to be Unnecessary Carnage.  We shudder to think of the carnage that would occur if every parent quickly dispatched every creature that ever caused a child to cry, be it a beetle, a baby deer or a person who might just appear to be different.

Letter 22 – Checkered Beetle: Enoclerus eximius

 

My Friend Fred
I work on the 29th floor of a huge building in the middle of downtown Portland Oregon. I found this little guy barely alive in my windowsill one day and have no idea where he came from. His appearance did coincide with an orchid that was donated to my office though, so he might have come in with that. Anyway, I poured a couple drops of water onto the ledge before I left that night and the next morning he was walking all over the place…on the window, on the sill, over my books. He has been my office mate for 4 days now. I though he might be a box elder bug or a milkweed bug, but haven’t found any pictures that look like him and I’ve never seen him fly. He is about half an inch long. Could you let me know what my new friend is?
Well, perhaps his life span was short, or maybe he just did what we all feel like doing stuck in a skyscraper day after day…curled up and died of claustrophobia. I haven’t heard anything though and am still interested to know what he was.
Leah Woodard
Springbrook Software

Hi Leah,
I’m not sure why we never got your original letter. Fred was a Checkered Beetle from the Family Cleridae. Checkered Beetles are brightly patterned with red, orange, yellow and blue and they have bulging eyes. Adults visit flowers and rest on foliage and trunks of dying or dead trees and they prey on the larva of wood boring insects. Larva of some species prey on bark beetle larva while others feed on grasshopper eggs. Our California species, Aulicus terrestris, feeds on caterpillars. We contacted Eric Eaton to try to get an exact species name. Here is his response:
“I grew up in Portland and never saw anything like this! It is indeed a checkered beetle (family Cleridae), but I wonder if it might even be exotic, and came in on produce or something. Jacques Rifkind runs a wonderful website with LOADS of images of Cleridae, so maybe someone should try searching that site for a match. These kinds of clerids are not pests, BTW, but prey on bark beetles and other pest insects. Eric”

Update: (06/27/2007) Eric Eaton pursued the following identification.
Daniel: At last we have an ID on that checkered beetle: Enoclerus eximius according to Jacques Rifkind! Please see attached, and make sure he gets the credit for BOTH identifications. I was merely mediator here. Thanks. Eric

Dear Eric, Jpeg came through fine. That one is indeed Enoclerus eximius (Mannerheim). Have a good weekend! Cheers, J

Letter 23 – Checkered Beetle from Bulgaria

 

can anyone tell me what this is?
May 20, 2010
Hi, I found your site recently and have found it really interesting and informative. I live in Bulgaria and have become amazed by the amount of different bugs here. This could be the first of many insects that I need help identifying, it was in my garden today and is the first I have seen like this.
DJ
Bulgaria

Checkered Beetle

Dear DJ,
WE are quite certain that this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we don’t know the species.  BugGuide, one of our favorite sources of identification, has information on the family, including this description:  “Body usually long and narrow, covered with bristly hairs and often marked with red, orange, yellow, or blue.
We believe we have identified your Checkered Beetle as Clerus mutillarius on the BioLib website.  According to the TrekNature website:  “The beetle breeds under loose bark, mainly on conifer trees, where both adults and larvae feed on the grubs of other beetles, especially bark beetles.”  According to Wikipedia, Clerus mutillarius appeared on a postage stamp for the German Democratic Republic in 1968.

Letter 24 – Blister Beetle from France

 

Hi Bugman,
Recently back from my holiday on the south coast of France (Cote D’Azur), when out searching for butterflies came across many of these beetle like insects sitting on Flower heads in the early morning. Have looked through your site and have seen similar but none with the 3 orange bands. Any ideas as too id? Thanks
Andrew

Hi Andrew,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae. We believe it is in the genus Trichodes, perhaps one of the species pictured on the Insectarium Virtual website.

Correction: January 5, 2010
We just received a comment identifying this as a Blister Beetle.

Letter 25 – Checkered Beetle from France

 

Subject: Wondering if this is a spider
Location: Dordogne,France
April 25, 2013 6:18 am
Dear WTB,
I took this picture in my kitchen before putting it in the garden- it looks like it could nip. It was probably staying out of the sun. I cant say I’ve seen one here ever -France. It is about 1-1.5 cm in length. It looks like venom from spiderman , maybe the inspiration. Thanks
Signature: Alan Harvey

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Alan,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, not a spider.  According to BugGuide, Checkered Beetles are:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.”  Your Checkered Beetle looks somewhat similar to this image of
Thanasimus formicarius from FlickR.

Letter 26 – Checkered Beetle with Red Turpentine Beetles

 

Subject: Black Hairy Insect nesr White Pine Beetles
Location: California in Sequoia
March 19, 2017 6:43 am
Cannot identify the hairy black and white insect on this pine tree. The two pine beetles I could identify. This is taken at Wishon Camlground near Doyle Springs/Sequoia, in California.
Signature: Emily

Checkered Beetle and Red Turpentine Beetles

Dear Emily,
We believe your Pine Beetles are Red Turpentine Beetles,
Dendroctonus valens, a species pictured on BugGuide and found in California.  According to BugGuide:  “Primary host: Pinus.”  Your unidentified beetle is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae.  A similar looking species is the Red Bellied Clerid Beetle, Enoclerus sphegeus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the species if found in California.  Of the Checkered Beetle family, BugGuide notes:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers” so it is possible that the Checkered Beetle you found was preying on the adults and larvae of the Red Turpentine Beetles.

Letter 27 – Longhorn Beetle, NOT Checkered Beetle!!!

 

Subject: Possible Velvet Ant?
Location: Northeast Los Angeles
March 20, 2013 2:17 pm
Hello again! One more for you, that I’ve been holding on to for a while. This little guy was also found on Mt. Washington in Los Angeles, I believe last spring. Its appearance says ”velvet ant” to me, but I can’t find a similar image online. Classic velvet ants seem to be much more colorful, with more red or orange.
Thanks!
Signature: Jonathan V

Checkered Beetle, we believe
Ipochus fasciatus, a Longhorn Beetle

Hi Again Jonathan,
We are nearly certain this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but our initial search on BugGuide did not produce any matches.  If it is not a Checkered Beetle, our second choice is a Darkling Beetle.  We will contact Eric Eaton for some assistance.

Checkered Beetle we believe
Longhorn Beetle is Ipochus fasciatus

Eric Eaton provides a correction:  Ipochus fasciatus
Daniel:
We were both wrong!  You thought it was a clerid or a tenebrionid.  I thought for certain it was a spider beetle (Anobiidae:  Ptininae or Ptinidae).  Turns out it is a longhorn!  Here:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/125447
Crazy.  I knew it looked familiar, but it took looking in an old, dusty copy of Essig’s Insects and Mites of Western North America to find a figure that matched.
Would love to share these images on Bugguide and maybe in a blog post.  Thanks.
Eric

Checkered Beetle, most likely
Longhorn Beetle is Ipochus fasciatus

That’s fantastic, Daniel, thanks! Boy, I wasn’t seeing a beetle at all, but now that I look at some other pictures and look at the legs, etc., it’s much more beetle-like. No wonder I couldn’t find anything like it under the Velvet Ants. Back to Entomology 101, I guess (and that was a long time ago!).
Please pass along my permission to use the images, if Eric would like. Happy to help.

 

 

Letter 28 – Checkered-Fringe Prominent

 

Need Caterpillar ID Please
I was out in my front yard and noticed the lower branches of the oak tree were stripped but I didn’t see any swarm of bugs that you might expect on such a stripping of leaves. On close inspection right at the line where the stripped leaves and whole leaves meet (logical place to look right?) I find this guy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like this before and was wondering what it is. We are in Lawrenceville Georgia and the photo was taken yesterday (Sept 7, 2005) Feel free to use the photos for anything you like. I scoured your site and didn’t find anything close. It’s quite a large tree and the damage is minimal. Plus it’s almost fall anyway so I’m not looking to get rid of it or them. This is the only one I could find. I’m just currious and I spend a lot of time IDing snakes for people so figured it was my turn to “bug” someone 🙂 Thanks in advance for your help..Great site btw!
Brett Gardin

Hi Brett,
Great photos of the Checkered Fringe Prominent Moth Caterpillar, Schizura ipomoeae.

Letter 29 – Checkered Skipper

 

Common moth but what is it?
I ran across your site while trying to identify this moth. It was sitting on the garage floor on a cool morning. I would say it was less than 2 inches across. I live in Green Valley AZ, just south of Tucson.
Thanks
chuck

Hi Chuck,
This is a Checkered Skipper, a butterfly in the genus Pyrgus.

Letter 30 – Checkered Skipper

 

Subject: Thirsty Butterflies
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
December 5, 2012 10:24 pm
I hand watered our shrubs and flowers today due to the continuing dry and warm weather. Well, thirsty butterflies flew to the yard, and drank and drank. I spotted several of these individuals. Are they skippers, perhaps Common Checkered-skippers? I looked in Bug Guide. I think the last individual may be ovipositing? Nature is confused by the unseasonable warmth, perhaps. Either that or the butterflies are thinking, ”Make hay while the sun shines.” A cold front is due to arrive on Sunday, alas, with temps maybe dropping into the teens. 🙁 (I left the last photo uncropped so that you could zoom as you wished.)Love your website and the information, thank you!
Signature: Ellen

Checkered Skipper

Hi Ellen,
Sorry about the delay in posting your second submission.  After posting the Red Admiral, we forgot about these Skippers which do appear to be Checkered Skippers.   The final photo does appear to have caught an individual in the act of oviposition, but there is no plant visible in the photo.  Butterflies generally oviposit directly onto the food plant for the caterpillar which for the Checkered Skipper includes plants in the mallow family, according to Bugguide.  There are many weeds in the mallow family that grow in gardens and yards.

Checkered Skipper

Update from Ellen
Subject: Checkered Skipper with Plants
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
December 13, 2012 1:29 am
Hello, enclosed is another photo of the checkered skipper with plants. I’m not sure what the host plant is, possibly the plant with the lavender stem. We have many wildflowers in this dry creekbed behind our house. Thank you again for all of your interesting help and information.
Signature: Ellen

Checkered Skipper

Hi Ellen,
Thanks for the update.  The leaves in the photo look like they might be from the mallow family.

Letter 31 – Checkered Skipper

 

Subject: butterfly id
Location: Standley Lake near Westminster CO
August 1, 2017 9:09 am
Good Morning!
Saw this butterfly yesterday on the gravel road at Standley Lake in Westminster, CO. It appeared more blue in nature than it does in the photo. The length across the wings was about an inch. I think it is a Blue, but not sure of the species. Please help me identify it.
Thanks!
Signature: Susan

Checkered Skipper

Dear Susan,
This is one of the Checkered Skippers in the genus
Pyrgus, and according to BugGuide:  “Eight species, mostly western.”

Letter 32 – Checkered White

 

Subject: Checkered White Butterfly?
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
March 18, 2013 3:12 pm
Hi again. Yes, I totally played hooky for awhile this afternoon. 😉 Is this a Checkered White Butterfly? I’ve been chasing the white butterflies for awhile. They flutter gently away whenever I approach, camera in hand. Here is a Bug Guide reference: http://bugguide.net/node/view/3556
Thank you!
Signature: Ellen

Checkered White
Checkered White

Hi Ellen,
We are trying to post as many of your butterfly images as we can this evening, including this Checkered White.  We envy your ability to play hooky.

Checkered White
Checkered White

Letter 33 – Checkered White Caterpillar and Chrysalis

 

Subject:  Unknown Caterpillar/Chrysallis
Geographic location of the bug:  Coryell County, TX
Date: 05/04/2019
Time: 12:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! Hope you are both well.
It was quite exciting to discover this little caterpillar attaching itself to a Kiowa Pecan sapling after a rainstorm. I’ve been getting photos of the chrysallis each day, and seeing amazing changes daily. We’ve had multiple thunderstorms and high wind (hence the staking of the sapling, not my preference but necessary on this hilltop). Temps 60-80 degrees, gusty winds, high humidity. Dates May 1, 2, and 3.
If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say this may be a Checkered White?
Thank you for all of your help. We live next to a green space now, lots of butterflies and birds… among other various living things 😉
How you want your letter signed:  Ellen

Checkered White Caterpillar

Hi Ellen,
How nice to hear from you.  We apologize for the delay.  Daniel is currently in Ohio for Mother’s Day and there is excruciatingly slow internet here.  We agree with you that this is a Checkered White caterpillar (see BugGuide) and chrysalis (see BugGuide).  Perhaps you will be lucky enough to witness and photograph the eclosion of the adult butterfly.

Checkered White Chrysalis

Thank you so much! I’ll continue photographing and checking the chrysalis each day. It appears to be doing well despite the ongoing rain and wind. Best wishes, and safe journey to Daniel.

Checkered White Chrysalis

Letter 34 – Common Checkered Skipper

 

Common Checkered Skipper
Bugman,
I photographed this “Common Checkered Skipper” on 4/10/08 here in Charlotte, NC. Sometimes it’s hard to catch this little butterfly with its wings in the ‘up’ position. I managed to get a picture of it. I tried many times last fall but without much success.
Patrick Crone

Hi Patrick,
Thanks for the great contribution of the Common Checkered Skipper, Pyrgus communis. Curious readers can get more information on BugGuide.

Letter 35 – Common Checkered Skipper

 

Possible Silver Butterfly?
Location:  Grandville, MI
August 23, 2010 1:46 pm
Spotted this while in the garden the other day.
PH

Common Checkered Skipper

Dear PH,
This is one of the Checkered Skippers in the genus
Pyrgus, and we believe it is the Common Checkered Skipper, Pyrgus communis, based on images posted to BugGuide.  BugGuide also indicates:  “Where the ranges overlap (i.e. central California, southern Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and the southeastern states), White Checkered-Skipper female is indistinguishable, and male is positively identifiable only with the specimen in hand (by extending the penis and verifying the species under a lense).

Thank you for your timely and informative response!
Paul Henson

Letter 36 – Female Checkered White

 

Butterfly
Location: North Texas
August 24, 2011 1:34 am
What is the common name of this species?
Signature: Anthony K.

Female Checkered White

Hi Anthony,
We really like your photo of a female Checkered White,
Pontia protodice, and we wish someone with more gardening knowledge would tell us the identity of this composite flower.  We identified it in Butterflies Through Binoculars, the West by Jeffrey Glassberg.

August 24, 2011 5:31 pm
Hi, the flower is a gaillardia.  I have some in my yard and really enjoy the blooms and resulting seed heads.
Thanks for giving us such a great bug site!
Signature: Donna Wilkinson

Thanks Donna.

Letter 37 – Ferocious Water Bug and possibly Checkered Beetle

 

We’re Stumped
Hi, Bug Man –
Last summer, we took a family vacation to Colorado. My daughter, a budding entomologist through 4-H, was excited about looking for any unusual insects that we don’t see in Indiana. Low and behold, we found just that. After getting them home in one piece, we are unable to identify either one. The first photo is some kind of water bug we found in a fountain in Boulder. We didn’t think it was a giant water bug nymph because the wings look developed. It’s about an inch an a quarter long. The second photo of the beetle has a story. We found this guy on top of our car after lunch in Colorado Springs. He went into a zip lock bag with another colorful beetle find. An hour later, we checked on our catch, only to find out that this beetle had eaten the other – so, we know it’s predaceous. The photo isn’t great, but the distinguishing features are the red abdomen with two symmetrical black spots. It’s about 5/8 of an inch long.
Thanks!
Becky

Hi Becky,
Your Water Bug is in the genus Belostoma, and they are sometimes called the Ferocious Water Bugs. The other photo is not detailed enough to be able to quickly identify it. We suspect it might be a species of Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but not one we recognize. Eric Eaton provided this information: “The checkered beetle with the toe biter is indeed a checkered beetle, family Cleridae. Many kinds of checkered beetles are valuable predators of bark beetles.”

Update:  May 31, 2016
Thanks to a comment that just arrived, we can provide a link to the Handsome Yucca Beetle, a species of Checkered Beetle, on BugGuide.

Letter 38 – Four Spotted Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: Red Beetle with black spots
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
June 30, 2013 6:57 pm
First thing that came to mind was lady bug, but it’s not similar in shape. Found in Cincinnati in mid-spring.
I live in Cincinnati, OH, and never saw so many different types of insects before, I moved here from cold Minneapolis, MN.
Signature: Emily Rose

Four Spotted Checkered Beetle
Four Spotted Checkered Beetle

Dear Emily Rose,
We quickly dismissed that this might be a Leaf Beetle and we then identified it as a Four Spotted Checkered Beetle,
Pelonides quadripunctatus, thanks to images posted to BugGuide, which indicates the beetles are active:  “March-May.”

Letter 39 – Inornate Checkered Beetle and Pallid Winged Grasshopper

 

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?
Signature: Cat

Inornate Checkered Beetle
Inornate Checkered Beetle

Hi Cat,
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.

Inornate Checkered Beetle
Inornate Checkered Beetle

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.

Pallid Winged Grasshopper
Pallid Winged Grasshopper

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!

 

 

Letter 40 – Longtailed Skipper and Checkered Skipper

 

My Two New Butterflies — Longtail Skipper and Checker Skipper
The butterfly that I NEVER seen before your website is the Longtail Skipper. What a cutie!! Then I noticed the Checker Skipper seconds later. The Longtail was in and around my garage — too dark for me to focus well. Then the Checker Skipper was in the direct sunlight and it was too bright for me to focus well. THEN my battery died. Ugh!! The attached pics are alright but not as good as I had hoped for. I should have gone to your website first to ID the Checker Skipper!! Since it’s pattern is so striking and I vaguely remembered a butterfly called a Checker, I searched “Checker Butterfly” and got the Checkerspot Butterfly… It went downhill from there until I ended up on the USFWS website and you know all about THAT!! I forgot to mention this earlier, I think I even had a Red Admiral in my yard today. I kid you not, it was like Grand Central Station. What a fun day!! Also, I forgot the flower info. You probably know the flower that the Longtail Skipper is on by now, if you didn’t already — the Mexican Sunflower. The Checker Skipper is on a Cosmos.
Jacqui

Hi Jacqui,
We are beginning to think that you alone could supply us with a steady stream of new images each day. Thanks for sending us your two Skipper images.

Letter 41 – Male Checkered White

 

Male Checkered White
Male Checkered White

Subject: A mystery white, and a checkerspot?
Location: Larimer county, CO, 8100′
October 10, 2014 8:46 am
A couple butterflies I hope you can help with. Both taken same location. Larimer county, Colorado foothills, 8100 feet elevation. October 8, 2014. Warm day, but well past 1st frost. The first is a white, of sorts. Markings don’t strike me as cabbage white, and doesn’t seem dark enough for pine white (especially underside). Whites (or white morph sulphurs) are troublesome for me. …
Signature: Matt in CO

Checkered White
Checkered White

Hi Matt,
We are going to split your request into two distinct postings as they need to be categorized into different butterfly families.  We believe the White is a male Checkered White,
Pontia protodice, and according to BugGuide:  “Sexually dimorphic. Males are nearly all white, with some dark spots and dashes on the dorsal side of FW. Females are have considerably more dark markings on the dorsal side of FW.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Rather irregular in distribution in eastern North America, not seen every year in many localities, such as Piedmont region of North Carolina.  Can be extremely abundant, sometimes in the Southwest and Great Plains with thousands of individuals swarming flowers and puddles, and even coming to lights at night.  Can seem to disappear for a year or three during extreme drought, only to explode in numbers when rains come.”  In Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, Jeffrey Glassberg writes:  “Most frequently encountered in the lowlands, but can be found on high peaks.”

Letter 42 – Mating Checkered Skippers from Puerto Rico

 

Um… two more. This one’s a pair of mating butterflies…
… but inland on Vieques. They’re maybe 2″ in diameter, and hairy as a pair of moths, but their antennae say “butterfly”, don’t they?
Jim

Hi Jim,
These are Checkered Skippers in the genus Pyrgus. Skippers are classified as butterflies.

Letter 43 – Mating Common Checkered Skippers

 

What is this butterflies called
Location: Austin, Texas
January 24, 2012 9:54 am
I have taken a picture of two butterflies and will like to know what kind are they, and if they are mating or are co-joined together. thank you for your help
Signature: Mauricio Alvarez

Checkered Skippers Mating

Dear Mauricio,
These Common Checkered Skippers, Pyrgus communis, which we believe we correctly identified on BugGuide, are in fact mating.
  BugGuide indicates:  “Larvae feed on mallows (Malvaceae), including Althea, Abutilon, Malva.  Adults take nectar.”  Thanks for sending these great photos, and we are especially happy that you show both the upper and under views of the wings.

Mating Common Checkered Skippers

Thank you very much for your help. Feel free to use those pictures in your website.
Mauricio

Letter 44 – Morning Glory Prominent or Checkered Fringe Prominent

 

Unicorn or morning glory prominent?
Attached is a photo of the caterpillar that was decimating my boyfriend’s rosebush in the beautiful North Georgia foothills. After finding your site we have tentatively identified it as either a unicorn prominent or a morning glory prominent, but the available online photos are not quite distinct enough to settle the debate (he says one, I say the other). Can you tell us which it is, and can you also tell us what it will turn into? Please feel free to use this photo on your site if you like. Best,
Ann and David

Hi Ann and David,
This is the second household debate we are being asked to settle this week. BugGuide has many excellent photos of the Morning Glory Prominent, Schizura ipomoeae, which we believe you have, as well as its close relative, the Unicorn Prominent. Additional support in the direction of the Morning Glory Prominent is that rose is listed as a food plant.

Checkered Fringe Prominent
ur wrong
Your morning glory is actually a Checkered Fringe Prominent. The same caterpillars are eating my roses but most are already in the prepupal stage.
Cameron

Hi Cameron,
Are we now? BugGuide lists both common names, Checkered Fringe Prominent and Morning Glory Prominent as the same species, Schizura ipomoeae. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Letter 45 – Ornate Checkered Beetle

 

Burying beetle?
Hi Bugman. So, I was watching this crab spider (under petal) on a Sego lily in the badlands near Douglas, WY when the flower was briefly visited by this guy. Is it a Burying beetle? You guys rock!
Dwaine

Hi again Dwaine,
We believe this is an Ornate Checkered Beetle, Trichodes ornatus, which seems to be the closest match on BugGuide. Some species in the family feed on pollen, which would explain its appearance on the blossom.

Letter 46 – Ornate Checkered Beetle

 

Black and Yellow Beetle
Location:  Sabino Canyon, Az
August 22, 2010 10:32 pm
I spied this colorful black & yellow beetle in a cactus flower while hiking Sabino Canyon (Az) in May. I have not been able to identify it. I wondered if the bugman might know?
Joe M

Ornate Checkered Beetle

Hi Joe,
We identified your Ornate Checkered Beetle,
Trichodes ornatus, on BugGuide much faster than we anticipated, but there is no information on the species which ranges throughout western North America.

Daniel,
Wow, that was fast!  Thanks a lot.  I always troll the WEB to identify the various things I photograph but this one really stumped me.
Thanks again,
Joe.

Letter 47 – Ornate Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: beetles
Location: southern BC, Canada
June 1, 2015 2:24 pm
I am sending 2 pictures of 2 different beetles I have found in the last 2 days. The turquoise/yellow obe was on my peonies and the other one was in the grass.
Signature: Jessica

Ornate Checkered Beetle
Ornate Checkered Beetle

Dear Jessica,
Because your two beetles must be categorized differently, we are splitting our response into two distinct postings.  We are thrilled to be able to post your image of an Ornate Checkered Beetle,
Trichodes ornatus, which we identified on BugGuide.  The members of the family, according to BugGuide, are:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.”  According to iNaturalist:  “Larvae live in bee nests of mostly Megachilidae family species[2] and are parasitic. While in the nest they feed on the bees’ larvae or pollen. When they mature into an adult they begin feeding on yarrow, milkweed, and other plants of yellow colouration. The species males are 5–11 millimetres (0.20–0.43 in) long while females are 7–15 millimetres (0.28–0.59 in).” 

Letter 48 – Checkered Beetle from Borneo: Callimerus sp

 

Subject: Ant Beetle ?
Location: Balung River Eco Resort, Tawau, Sabah, Borneo.
November 18, 2013 6:27 am
Dear Mr. Bugman, I am glad to be able to return to this site again.
This time I have found a tiny ant-like beetle which I could not identify.
It’s length is smaller than 15mm. Could it be a Cleridae species?
Signature: C. X. Wong

Possibly Checkered Beetle
Possibly Checkered Beetle

Dear C. X. Wong,
Your beetle does resemble a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we cannot say for certain that is a correct family identification.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to confirm the family and provide some more specific information.

Possibly Checkered Beetle
Possibly Checkered Beetle

 

Letter 49 – Checkered Beetle from Canada

 

Subject: What is this bug.
Location: Ontario, Canada
November 17, 2015 12:17 pm
We have found a couple of these in our house… wondering what it is
Signature: Krysten

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Krysten,
We believe this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we are unable to find a visual match on BugGuide.  It somewhat resembles the Red Bellied Clerid,
Enoclerus nigripes rufiventris, pictured on Birding New Burnswick or Enoclerus sphegeus pictured on Bold Systems Taxonomy.  Heading back to BugGuide, we found the latter to be listed as the Red Bellied Clerid.  We will contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion.

Eric Eaton Confirms Checkered Beetle Identification
Hi, Daniel:
Yes, a checkered beetle in the genus Enoclerus.  Not sure of the species.  Jacques Rifkind is an expert on these but I forget how to get in touch with him.
Eric

Letter 50 – Blister Beetle, not Checkered Beetle from Swaziland

 

Bug on flower
Location: Swaziland, Africa
January 21, 2012 1:29 pm
Hi,
I found this bug while visiting the Hlane Game Park in Swaziland. It was in January (Summertime and rain season in this side of the world…)
I really can’t classify it so I decided to ask for your assistance.
Thanks and all the best,
Luigi
Signature: Luigi

Checkered Beetle we believe

Dear Luigi,
In our opinion, this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae.  We are linking to the BugGuide page of Checkered Beetles though they are North American species.  You should be able to see the similarities.  They are described as:  “Body usually long and narrow, covered with bristly hairs and often marked with red, orange, yellow, or blue; head usually wider than pronotum; pronotum sybcylindrical and narrower than elytra; antennae vary considerably and are of great diagnostic value within the group.”

Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Luigi:
It’s called a Felt Blister Beetle (Hycleus burmeisteri) and it is actually a Blister beetle in the family Meloidae.  The Field Guide to Insects of South Africa refers to it as Mylabris burmeisteri (probably an older synonym) and provides a description and some interesting information. As with most Blister Beetles, it is best not to touch. Regards.  Karl

Letter 51 – Tropical Checkered Skipper and Sleepy Orange

 

tropical checkered skipper
Hi there —
I didn’t notice this one in your nifty collection yet. This male tropical checkered skipper is actually rather small, only about an inch and a half across. Were it not for the ability to take a close photo, I’d never have identified it. There are lots of these around. This was taken in my back yard. The butterfly below the skipper, however, I have been unable to identify. It was a fast mover, and this was the only half decent photo I could get, on a bad angle, as you can see. It was perhaps the size of a cabbage butterfly. I wish I could have gotten a shot of it with wings open, but it was not to be. Any ideas?
Joanne Wilson
West Palm Beach, FL

Tropical Checkered Skipper Sleepy Orange

Hi Joanne,
Your letter represents two new species for us. The Tropical Checkered Skipper, Pyrgus oileus, is a southern species. According to our Butterflies through Binoculars Book by Jeffrey Glassberg: “You’ll need your close focusing binoculars and some patience to get good looks at these animals, but your efforts will be rewarded.” WE are almost certain your other butterfly is a Sleepy Orange, Eurema nicippe. The name sleepy does not refer to the flight which is quite frisky, though close to the ground. Sleepy refers to spots on the wings that resemble closed eyes. The food of the caterpillar is cassia.

Letter 52 – Checkered Beetle

 

Unknown Beetle
Checkered Beetle
Unknown Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Subject: Borers in Oregon
Location: Josephine Co., Oregon
October 19, 2014 5:39 pm
We were splitting Madrone firewood today (10/19/14), and it was full of borers of some kind. There were two varieties. The black & green variety was the most common (probably 90%), but there were also some of the red and black. We’re interested in learning more about them, particularly whether they’re a threat to our woods.
Signature: Jim

Hi Jim,
We have not had much luck identifying your red and black beetles, but it might be partly due to the lack of clarity in the images, and that they look velvety in texture, but we are not sure if that is an illusion.  Please clarify the tomentosity of your beetle, because other than the apparent texture of your individuals,  they remind us of Pleasing Fungus Beetles which are pictured on BugGuide.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to write in with an identification.

Arthur Evans identifies Checkered Beetle
Daniel,
Just saw this post on your page. It is a clerid beetle, Chariessa elegans <http://bugguide.net/node/view/169445>.
Cheers, ART
Arthur V. Evans, D.Sc.
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Research Collaborator:  Department of Entomology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Checkered Beetle

 

small, rust-colored but with black stripes/markings around tail
Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 3:32 PM
I was outside and a small (maybe 1/2″) bug flew into my shirt. It may have bitten me, but I’m not sure. It’s rust-colored with some black stripes or markings around its tail. It has wings. I’ve attached a photo of it. I’ve never seen a bug like this before. Could it be poisonous? Do you think it could have bitten me? Thanks for any help you can provide.
Anne
Nashville, TN

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Hi Anne,
We are always amused at the number of people who write to us wanting “buts” identified.  This is one of the most commonly encountered species of Checkered Beetles, Enoclerus nigripes.  It is entirely possible that it bit you, but Checkered Beetles do not bite people except when threatened.  They are not poisonous.  BugGuide has numerous nice images of this species.

Letter 2 – Blister Beetle from Greece

 

clerid beetle from greece
Sun, Dec 7, 2008 at 9:58 AM
i found this guy in Therbenoxoria,greece,at the village called Prasino.
it was found on a plant on a rocky hill during the day. Any possible ID’s?
thanks,LEO
Therbenoxoria, Prasino village, Greece

Unknown Checkered Beetle from Greece
Blister Beetle from Greece

Hi Leo,
We are afraid we need to wait for some specialist in Checkered Beetles to provide you with a species or genus name on your specimen. We will also attempt to post your other letters, but we have a limited amount of time that we may spend on postings.

Daniel:
The “checkered beetle from Greece” is actually a blister beetle, family Meloidae.
I’ll see if I can’t get some more specifics for the Grecian beetles in general for you…
Eric Eaton

Daniel:
It does look like a blister beetle, probably in the Genus Mylabris . There are a number of European and Near East species that look like possibilities, but the closest appears to be M. quadripunctata. Regards.
Karl

Letter 3 – Checkered Beetle

 

Odd Striped Ant
Location: Upstate NY
November 4, 2010 3:34 am
I found this little ant-like creature crawling up the inside of my pants. Felt like it might have bit me but it could have just been his/her jagged legs.
Any idea on what this insect is?
Signature: Jillian

Checkered Beetle

Hi Jillian,
You have had a close encounter with a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, and it appears as though it is
Thanasimus dubius according to images posted to BugGuide.  The family page on BugGuide offers this information:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.

Letter 4 – Blister Beetle: Tricrania stansburyi

 

Subject: Fence Post Beetle
Location: Ola, Idaho
April 29, 2013 10:24 pm
Here is a photo of a beetle I spotted on a fence post. It seemed like these were quite common in the area; most wooden fence posts had one or two of these lounging about. This was taken at an altitude of about 4000 feet in late April near Ola, Idaho. If need be I have about ten more good photos of this type of beetle.
Signature: Buck Rekow

Possibly Checkered Beetle
Blister Beetle:  Tricrania stansburyi

Hi Buck,
Alas, we are zero for two with your requests this morning.  We love your photographs.  Our initial thought is that this might be a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we are not certain.  Our initial search did not turn up any matches and we must leave to go to work.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide an ID in our absence.

Correction:  Blister Beetle
Thanks to a correction by Tenodera, we have now come to the conclusion that this is a Blister Beetle,
Tricrania stansburyi, and this can be verified on BugGuide.

If you enjoy the photos, here are two more of the beetle. One gives a clearer view of the mandibles. If the quality is not great enough, you can discard them.

Blister Beetle
Blister Beetle

Thanks so much for the additional photos.

Blister Beetle
Blister Beetle

Letter 5 – Checkered Beetle

 

Insect identification
Hey, sorry to bother you, but I was trying to figure out what type of insect this is and haven’t been having a lot of luck figuring it out. I’m doing a series of insect photos as my blog theme this week, and wanted to use this image for tomorrow’s entry.Any help would be greatly appreciated. Best,
Mike Thompson
Mike Thompson Photography & Design
Orinda CA

Hi Mike,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, probably the genus Trichodes as pictured on BugGuide. We are not certain of the species, but perhaps Eric Eaton can assist with that.

Letter 6 – Checkered Beetle

 

desert bug
Location: Death Valley National Park. thank you for your time.
Brian

Hi Brian,
Thanks for writing back with a location. People don’t realize how helpful that information is, especially since we deal with so many foreign identifications. We believe this is a Checkered Beetle in the genus Trichodes. The markings are consistant with the Ornate Checkered Beetle, Trichodes ornatus, but the coloration is closer to other members in the genus. We want Eric Eaton to weigh in on this. Eric writes: ” I agree wilth your IDs on both the checkered beetle (Trichodes ornatus) and the longhorn (Plinthocoelium suaveeolens). How come ‘I’ never find such gaudy critters?”

Letter 7 – Checkered Beetle

 

Checkered or Blister Beetle?
I looked through your section on beetles and couldn’t find this species. From what I looked at on your site and in books I’m assuming it is some type of checkered beetle or possibly a blister beetle. It was found outside of our nature center in Rockledge, FL. Could you identify it for us? Thank you.
Brandon Smith, Environmental Program Coordinator
Riverwalk Nature Center, Rockledge, FL

Hi Brandon,
This is certainly a Checkered Beetle. It looks like Enoclerus muttkowskii according to the images on BugGuide.
Eric Eaton is of the opinion that: “The checkered beetle is probably Enoclerus ichneumoneus.”

Letter 8 – Checkered Beetle

 

from New Mexico
This bug is after the pollen on our prairie coneflowers. There are many of them this year and we had never noticed them before. Are they some kind of wasp, or some kind of beetle? Thanks,
Juan Ortega

Hi Juan,
This is some species of Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we do not know which species. Perhaps Eric Eaton will write in with that answer.

Update (06/26/2007) From Eric Eaton:
“My friend Jacques Rifkind, a world authority on Cleridae, identified the checkered beetle from New Mexico as Trichodes bibalteatus. We don’t even have that one on Bugguide, I don’t think. Lovely shot, too…. Eric ”

Letter 9 – Checkered Beetle

 

Beautiful Red Beetle
July 15, 2009
I’ve seen these small active red beetles in Oklahoma woodlands all of my life, over 50 years, but never have identified them. They are very showy and run or fly readily to escape. They are active in the hottest times of the summer in the daytime. I found this one in mid-July in central Oklahoma on a 105 F degree-day. I’ve never seen them in groups only as singles. It’s about a third of an inch long.
K. Hopkins
Oklahoma, USA

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear K.,
We didn’t realize we were answering two of your letters back to back.  This is a Checkered Beetle, Enoclerus ichneumoneus. You may find matching images on BugGuide.  After opening five different large files for your photographs, the photo instructor in us feels compelled to tell you that you have a lot of visual noise.  Try changing the sensitivity to light (ISO) or some other resolution factor which is causing your otherwise marvelous images to be degraded.

Letter 10 – Checkered Beetle

 

Not a Lady Bug, but a ???
November 23, 2009, 5:52 PM
Found this beetle bug dying in our house today. I have noticed several of these beetles on the vinyl siding of our house, but this is the first one I have seen inside. We recently treated our carpets with pyrethrins as the kitty brought flees in with her. The pics were taken as the beetle was dying and penny added for scale.
A bit more info about our location. We are in central Kentucky and recently bought a house that backs up to a farm that has planted soy beans for the past two years.
Any help ID’ing this critter would be greatly appreciated as I want to make sure it is not a destructive type of pest.
Worried in KY
Central KY

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Found it!
6:04 PMNovember 23, 2009
Found the info about the beetle that came inside and died. It is a checkered beetle and I am assuming that since we had an ice storm last year they are feeding on the wood borers that are chewing on the dead wood in the tree line between our house and the soybean field. Thank you for your help!
Not Worried in KY
Central KY

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Not Worried in KY, formerly Worried in KY,
We are thrilled to see that within 12 minutes, you correctly identified your Checkered Beetle on our website.  More information on the Checkered Beetle family Cleridae can be found on BugGuide.

Update:  July 24, 2016
While attempting to identify a newly submitted Checkered Beetle, we realized this individual also appears to be
Enoclerus ichneumoneus.

Letter 11 – Checkered Beetle

 

What is this?
Location: cocoa, fl
November 26, 2010 12:10 am
We found this the other day and it looks kinda like an ant of some sort then it flew away…
Signature: huh?

Checkered Beetle

Dear huh?,
You encountered a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, and it appears to be
Enoclerus ichneumoneus based on an image we matched on BugGuideThe family page on BugGuide contains this information:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.

Letter 12 – Checkered Beetle

 

black beetle with long yellow spots
Location: Colorado Mountains Eastern Slope 8500 feet
July 11, 2011 3:28 pm
This beetle is on a wild potentilla (cinquefoil) plant in our forest on the eastern slope of the Colorado Rockies at 8500 feet. I thought it looked similar to a cucumber beetle, but I don’t believe that’s what it is. Can you help me with an identification?
Signature: Eric Christensen

Checkered Beetle

Hi Eric,
We wish your photo depicted the antennae.  We are nearly certain that this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, and it might be the highly variable Ornate Checkered Beetle,
Trichodes ornatus.  This individual on BugGuide has very subtle spotting like your individual and this example from BugGuide even more so.

Letter 13 – Checkered Beetle

 

Bug
Location: Wittmann, AZ 85361
November 6, 2011 1:07 pm
Hi
We found this bug in our house in Mobile Gardens in Wittmann, Arizona. We have tried to identify it with no luck. My son took the picture and then let it free outside. This would have been around mid October, 2011.
Signature: Ken Matchett

Checkered Beetle

Hi Ken,
Our initial impression was that this is a Checkered Beetle, and upon researching on
BugGuide, we have confirmed that suspicion, and we believe it might be Enoclerus quadrisignatus.  According to BugGuide, the species is “Highly variable” and “Ferocious predators of wood boring beetles.”

Letter 14 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: Orange Bug on Tulip Poplar
Location: Great Falls, VA
November 13, 2012 3:48 pm
I noticed recently that some of the large branches on a 150+ year old tulip poplar have been debarked. This is in northern virginia.
Yesterday, i found a number of ant-like insects on the tree. They have 6 legs and seem to have two defined body segments.
If you look at the insect from tail to head, it has a bright orange behind, a black horizontal stripe, and an orange top to the main body. The head is reddish orange. The legs are black.
I’d like to find out what kind of insect this is. I’ve never seen anything like it. The closest thing i can find is a cow killer, but those are furry. This is smoothe with no real fur.
Thanks for your help.
Signature: john marciano

Checkered Beetle

Hi John,
This little beauty is a Checkered Beetle, possibly
Enoclerus ichneumoneus Checkered Beetles are not damaging your tree, and they are most likely feeding on insects that might be negatively impacting the health of the tree.  According to BugGuide:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.” 

Letter 15 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: Orange bug~
Location: Western Maryland
November 22, 2014 12:26 pm
I was doing some cleaning around my apartment and I went to move my exercise ball and found this orange striped beauty. I have never seen one like it before. I took a picture of it then moved it outside.
Signature: Bugs are Friends

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, possibly Enoclerus muttkowskii which is pictured on BugGuide.  Checkered Beetles, according to BugGuide, are;:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.”

Letter 16 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: Mystery beetle in our house
Location: Seattle, WA
March 21, 2016 10:35 pm
Hello,
I am hoping you can help identify these black orange beetles that suddenly appeared in our house. We’re not sure who they are or where they came from. They appeared recently (March) and can be found on walls, furniture, or ceilings. Thank you!
PS> the one in the photo got squished a little during the capture 🙁
Signature: Kira

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Kira,
We believe we have correctly identified your Checkered Beetle as
Enoclerus cupressi based on this BugGuide image.  The genus page on BugGuide states the habitat is “Woodland; found under bark, in galls, around woody plants, rarely on foliage” and the food is “Both larvae and adults are generally predacious. Some adults feed on pollen, some species are attracted to carrion and ‘stored animal products.'”  Since you have found numbers of them in your home, we suspect they may be feeding on a dead animal in the walls or perhaps some “stored animal products” are the cause of their appearance.  The Checkered Beetles are not a problem, but their presence may be a symptom of something that may need attention.

Letter 17 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject:  Weird biting insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Southeast Nebraska
Date: 11/21/2017
Time: 12:17 PM EDT
What the heck is this? It was in my house and latched onto my boyfriend’sneck when he tried to brush it away. It was not a painful bite but it did latch on.
How you want your letter signed:  Karen Heusinkvelt

Checkered Beetle

Dear Karen,
This is a Checkered Beetle, and they are not dangerous to humans.  Based on this BugGuide image, we suspect it is either
Enoclerus vetus or a related species in the same genus.  According to BugGuide:  “larvae and adults are predacious; adults may feed on pollen, some species are attracted to carrion and ‘stored animal products.'”

Thank you! I posted the picture on Facebook and nobody around here had ever seen one. Thanks again!

Letter 18 – Checkered Beetle

 

Subject:  Thin shaped orange-red bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Western Washington State
Date: 05/10/2019
Time: 01:22 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
We found this beetle like bug inside of our house, I couldn’t find an exact match that looked like it. Do you know what it is?
How you want your letter signed:  Kaylan

Checkered Beetle

Dear Kaylan,
We identified this Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae as
Enoclerus eximius thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  Of the genus, BugGuide notes:  “larvae and adults are predacious; adults may feed on pollen, some species are attracted to carrion and ‘stored animal products.'”

Letter 19 – Checkered Beetle from Australia

 

Subject: What is it?
Location: Sydney
December 23, 2014 5:09 am
Hoping you can identify.
Found on a cruise ship that had travelled from Brisbane in Queensland, prior to this in South Pacific Islands. Nov 28th this yr.
Thanks for your efforts!
Signature: Zeb

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Zeb,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we are not certain of the species.  There are several similar looking individuals on the Insects of Brisbane website as well as on the Cleridae of Australia site where an image of
Trogodendron fasciculatum looks like a very close match.

Letter 20 – Checkered Beetle from Australia

 

Subject: It’s watching me…
Location: Sydney, Australia
November 6, 2016 8:22 pm
Hi Bugman,
Found this little specimen buzzing around my bedroom this morning, I assume it flew it the back door when I had it open.
It’s about 30mm long
Any help with an ID would be great, as I have never seen anything like it in the garden before.
Thanks
Signature: Mark

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Mark,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we are not certain of the species.  It looks similar to
 Scrobiger albocinctus which is pictured on the Brisbane Insect site where it states:  “The beetle has large eyes and bright yellow antenna. Its large and strong mandible suggested it is a predator. Its wing covers are black in colour with pink at the back, separated by a white line across. This beetle was found on gum leaf in Karawatha Forest during mid summer. The beetle was walking on leaves and stems, waving its antenna, seemed searching for something. The beetle was slow moving and did not quite response to our interrupt. ”  It also resembles Trogodendron fasciculatum which is pictured on Csiro.  

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Never mind!
Its this guy –> http://www.ozanimals.com/Insect/Yellow-horned-Clerid/Trogodendron/fasciculatum.html
Thanks

Letter 21 – Checkered Beetle Carnage

 

Subject: Never seen a bug like this in my 32yrs.
Location: Northern illinois
July 23, 2016 8:33 pm
At first glance I thought it was an ant….and so did my 3yr old who was freaking out yelling about it climbing on the chair in the house by her.
We live in northern Illinois. Its hot, and humid currently.
After killing said big I looked at it and realized its like no ant I’ve seen before. In fact I’ve never seen this bug before. I’ve searched the depths of the internet high and low trying to identify it.
I think it may be a beetle of some sort?
It is the only one we have seen here at home.
Any information you can give would be greatly appreciated!
Signature: Amber Johnson

Checkered Beetle Carnage
Checkered Beetle Carnage

Dear Amber,
This is a beneficial Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, and we believe we might have correctly identified it as
Enoclerus ichneumoneus thanks to images posted to BugGuide.  Of the family, BugGuide notes:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.”  We hope that should you encounter a Checkered Beetle in the future, you would not allow your child’s “freaking out yelling” to cause another incident of what we consider to be Unnecessary Carnage.  We shudder to think of the carnage that would occur if every parent quickly dispatched every creature that ever caused a child to cry, be it a beetle, a baby deer or a person who might just appear to be different.

Letter 22 – Checkered Beetle: Enoclerus eximius

 

My Friend Fred
I work on the 29th floor of a huge building in the middle of downtown Portland Oregon. I found this little guy barely alive in my windowsill one day and have no idea where he came from. His appearance did coincide with an orchid that was donated to my office though, so he might have come in with that. Anyway, I poured a couple drops of water onto the ledge before I left that night and the next morning he was walking all over the place…on the window, on the sill, over my books. He has been my office mate for 4 days now. I though he might be a box elder bug or a milkweed bug, but haven’t found any pictures that look like him and I’ve never seen him fly. He is about half an inch long. Could you let me know what my new friend is?
Well, perhaps his life span was short, or maybe he just did what we all feel like doing stuck in a skyscraper day after day…curled up and died of claustrophobia. I haven’t heard anything though and am still interested to know what he was.
Leah Woodard
Springbrook Software

Hi Leah,
I’m not sure why we never got your original letter. Fred was a Checkered Beetle from the Family Cleridae. Checkered Beetles are brightly patterned with red, orange, yellow and blue and they have bulging eyes. Adults visit flowers and rest on foliage and trunks of dying or dead trees and they prey on the larva of wood boring insects. Larva of some species prey on bark beetle larva while others feed on grasshopper eggs. Our California species, Aulicus terrestris, feeds on caterpillars. We contacted Eric Eaton to try to get an exact species name. Here is his response:
“I grew up in Portland and never saw anything like this! It is indeed a checkered beetle (family Cleridae), but I wonder if it might even be exotic, and came in on produce or something. Jacques Rifkind runs a wonderful website with LOADS of images of Cleridae, so maybe someone should try searching that site for a match. These kinds of clerids are not pests, BTW, but prey on bark beetles and other pest insects. Eric”

Update: (06/27/2007) Eric Eaton pursued the following identification.
Daniel: At last we have an ID on that checkered beetle: Enoclerus eximius according to Jacques Rifkind! Please see attached, and make sure he gets the credit for BOTH identifications. I was merely mediator here. Thanks. Eric

Dear Eric, Jpeg came through fine. That one is indeed Enoclerus eximius (Mannerheim). Have a good weekend! Cheers, J

Letter 23 – Checkered Beetle from Bulgaria

 

can anyone tell me what this is?
May 20, 2010
Hi, I found your site recently and have found it really interesting and informative. I live in Bulgaria and have become amazed by the amount of different bugs here. This could be the first of many insects that I need help identifying, it was in my garden today and is the first I have seen like this.
DJ
Bulgaria

Checkered Beetle

Dear DJ,
WE are quite certain that this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we don’t know the species.  BugGuide, one of our favorite sources of identification, has information on the family, including this description:  “Body usually long and narrow, covered with bristly hairs and often marked with red, orange, yellow, or blue.
We believe we have identified your Checkered Beetle as Clerus mutillarius on the BioLib website.  According to the TrekNature website:  “The beetle breeds under loose bark, mainly on conifer trees, where both adults and larvae feed on the grubs of other beetles, especially bark beetles.”  According to Wikipedia, Clerus mutillarius appeared on a postage stamp for the German Democratic Republic in 1968.

Letter 24 – Blister Beetle from France

 

Hi Bugman,
Recently back from my holiday on the south coast of France (Cote D’Azur), when out searching for butterflies came across many of these beetle like insects sitting on Flower heads in the early morning. Have looked through your site and have seen similar but none with the 3 orange bands. Any ideas as too id? Thanks
Andrew

Hi Andrew,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae. We believe it is in the genus Trichodes, perhaps one of the species pictured on the Insectarium Virtual website.

Correction: January 5, 2010
We just received a comment identifying this as a Blister Beetle.

Letter 25 – Checkered Beetle from France

 

Subject: Wondering if this is a spider
Location: Dordogne,France
April 25, 2013 6:18 am
Dear WTB,
I took this picture in my kitchen before putting it in the garden- it looks like it could nip. It was probably staying out of the sun. I cant say I’ve seen one here ever -France. It is about 1-1.5 cm in length. It looks like venom from spiderman , maybe the inspiration. Thanks
Signature: Alan Harvey

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Alan,
This is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, not a spider.  According to BugGuide, Checkered Beetles are:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.”  Your Checkered Beetle looks somewhat similar to this image of
Thanasimus formicarius from FlickR.

Letter 26 – Checkered Beetle with Red Turpentine Beetles

 

Subject: Black Hairy Insect nesr White Pine Beetles
Location: California in Sequoia
March 19, 2017 6:43 am
Cannot identify the hairy black and white insect on this pine tree. The two pine beetles I could identify. This is taken at Wishon Camlground near Doyle Springs/Sequoia, in California.
Signature: Emily

Checkered Beetle and Red Turpentine Beetles

Dear Emily,
We believe your Pine Beetles are Red Turpentine Beetles,
Dendroctonus valens, a species pictured on BugGuide and found in California.  According to BugGuide:  “Primary host: Pinus.”  Your unidentified beetle is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae.  A similar looking species is the Red Bellied Clerid Beetle, Enoclerus sphegeus, which is pictured on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide, the species if found in California.  Of the Checkered Beetle family, BugGuide notes:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers” so it is possible that the Checkered Beetle you found was preying on the adults and larvae of the Red Turpentine Beetles.

Letter 27 – Longhorn Beetle, NOT Checkered Beetle!!!

 

Subject: Possible Velvet Ant?
Location: Northeast Los Angeles
March 20, 2013 2:17 pm
Hello again! One more for you, that I’ve been holding on to for a while. This little guy was also found on Mt. Washington in Los Angeles, I believe last spring. Its appearance says ”velvet ant” to me, but I can’t find a similar image online. Classic velvet ants seem to be much more colorful, with more red or orange.
Thanks!
Signature: Jonathan V

Checkered Beetle, we believe
Ipochus fasciatus, a Longhorn Beetle

Hi Again Jonathan,
We are nearly certain this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but our initial search on BugGuide did not produce any matches.  If it is not a Checkered Beetle, our second choice is a Darkling Beetle.  We will contact Eric Eaton for some assistance.

Checkered Beetle we believe
Longhorn Beetle is Ipochus fasciatus

Eric Eaton provides a correction:  Ipochus fasciatus
Daniel:
We were both wrong!  You thought it was a clerid or a tenebrionid.  I thought for certain it was a spider beetle (Anobiidae:  Ptininae or Ptinidae).  Turns out it is a longhorn!  Here:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/125447
Crazy.  I knew it looked familiar, but it took looking in an old, dusty copy of Essig’s Insects and Mites of Western North America to find a figure that matched.
Would love to share these images on Bugguide and maybe in a blog post.  Thanks.
Eric

Checkered Beetle, most likely
Longhorn Beetle is Ipochus fasciatus

That’s fantastic, Daniel, thanks! Boy, I wasn’t seeing a beetle at all, but now that I look at some other pictures and look at the legs, etc., it’s much more beetle-like. No wonder I couldn’t find anything like it under the Velvet Ants. Back to Entomology 101, I guess (and that was a long time ago!).
Please pass along my permission to use the images, if Eric would like. Happy to help.

 

 

Letter 28 – Checkered-Fringe Prominent

 

Need Caterpillar ID Please
I was out in my front yard and noticed the lower branches of the oak tree were stripped but I didn’t see any swarm of bugs that you might expect on such a stripping of leaves. On close inspection right at the line where the stripped leaves and whole leaves meet (logical place to look right?) I find this guy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one like this before and was wondering what it is. We are in Lawrenceville Georgia and the photo was taken yesterday (Sept 7, 2005) Feel free to use the photos for anything you like. I scoured your site and didn’t find anything close. It’s quite a large tree and the damage is minimal. Plus it’s almost fall anyway so I’m not looking to get rid of it or them. This is the only one I could find. I’m just currious and I spend a lot of time IDing snakes for people so figured it was my turn to “bug” someone 🙂 Thanks in advance for your help..Great site btw!
Brett Gardin

Hi Brett,
Great photos of the Checkered Fringe Prominent Moth Caterpillar, Schizura ipomoeae.

Letter 29 – Checkered Skipper

 

Common moth but what is it?
I ran across your site while trying to identify this moth. It was sitting on the garage floor on a cool morning. I would say it was less than 2 inches across. I live in Green Valley AZ, just south of Tucson.
Thanks
chuck

Hi Chuck,
This is a Checkered Skipper, a butterfly in the genus Pyrgus.

Letter 30 – Checkered Skipper

 

Subject: Thirsty Butterflies
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
December 5, 2012 10:24 pm
I hand watered our shrubs and flowers today due to the continuing dry and warm weather. Well, thirsty butterflies flew to the yard, and drank and drank. I spotted several of these individuals. Are they skippers, perhaps Common Checkered-skippers? I looked in Bug Guide. I think the last individual may be ovipositing? Nature is confused by the unseasonable warmth, perhaps. Either that or the butterflies are thinking, ”Make hay while the sun shines.” A cold front is due to arrive on Sunday, alas, with temps maybe dropping into the teens. 🙁 (I left the last photo uncropped so that you could zoom as you wished.)Love your website and the information, thank you!
Signature: Ellen

Checkered Skipper

Hi Ellen,
Sorry about the delay in posting your second submission.  After posting the Red Admiral, we forgot about these Skippers which do appear to be Checkered Skippers.   The final photo does appear to have caught an individual in the act of oviposition, but there is no plant visible in the photo.  Butterflies generally oviposit directly onto the food plant for the caterpillar which for the Checkered Skipper includes plants in the mallow family, according to Bugguide.  There are many weeds in the mallow family that grow in gardens and yards.

Checkered Skipper

Update from Ellen
Subject: Checkered Skipper with Plants
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
December 13, 2012 1:29 am
Hello, enclosed is another photo of the checkered skipper with plants. I’m not sure what the host plant is, possibly the plant with the lavender stem. We have many wildflowers in this dry creekbed behind our house. Thank you again for all of your interesting help and information.
Signature: Ellen

Checkered Skipper

Hi Ellen,
Thanks for the update.  The leaves in the photo look like they might be from the mallow family.

Letter 31 – Checkered Skipper

 

Subject: butterfly id
Location: Standley Lake near Westminster CO
August 1, 2017 9:09 am
Good Morning!
Saw this butterfly yesterday on the gravel road at Standley Lake in Westminster, CO. It appeared more blue in nature than it does in the photo. The length across the wings was about an inch. I think it is a Blue, but not sure of the species. Please help me identify it.
Thanks!
Signature: Susan

Checkered Skipper

Dear Susan,
This is one of the Checkered Skippers in the genus
Pyrgus, and according to BugGuide:  “Eight species, mostly western.”

Letter 32 – Checkered White

 

Subject: Checkered White Butterfly?
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
March 18, 2013 3:12 pm
Hi again. Yes, I totally played hooky for awhile this afternoon. 😉 Is this a Checkered White Butterfly? I’ve been chasing the white butterflies for awhile. They flutter gently away whenever I approach, camera in hand. Here is a Bug Guide reference: http://bugguide.net/node/view/3556
Thank you!
Signature: Ellen

Checkered White
Checkered White

Hi Ellen,
We are trying to post as many of your butterfly images as we can this evening, including this Checkered White.  We envy your ability to play hooky.

Checkered White
Checkered White

Letter 33 – Checkered White Caterpillar and Chrysalis

 

Subject:  Unknown Caterpillar/Chrysallis
Geographic location of the bug:  Coryell County, TX
Date: 05/04/2019
Time: 12:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! Hope you are both well.
It was quite exciting to discover this little caterpillar attaching itself to a Kiowa Pecan sapling after a rainstorm. I’ve been getting photos of the chrysallis each day, and seeing amazing changes daily. We’ve had multiple thunderstorms and high wind (hence the staking of the sapling, not my preference but necessary on this hilltop). Temps 60-80 degrees, gusty winds, high humidity. Dates May 1, 2, and 3.
If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say this may be a Checkered White?
Thank you for all of your help. We live next to a green space now, lots of butterflies and birds… among other various living things 😉
How you want your letter signed:  Ellen

Checkered White Caterpillar

Hi Ellen,
How nice to hear from you.  We apologize for the delay.  Daniel is currently in Ohio for Mother’s Day and there is excruciatingly slow internet here.  We agree with you that this is a Checkered White caterpillar (see BugGuide) and chrysalis (see BugGuide).  Perhaps you will be lucky enough to witness and photograph the eclosion of the adult butterfly.

Checkered White Chrysalis

Thank you so much! I’ll continue photographing and checking the chrysalis each day. It appears to be doing well despite the ongoing rain and wind. Best wishes, and safe journey to Daniel.

Checkered White Chrysalis

Letter 34 – Common Checkered Skipper

 

Common Checkered Skipper
Bugman,
I photographed this “Common Checkered Skipper” on 4/10/08 here in Charlotte, NC. Sometimes it’s hard to catch this little butterfly with its wings in the ‘up’ position. I managed to get a picture of it. I tried many times last fall but without much success.
Patrick Crone

Hi Patrick,
Thanks for the great contribution of the Common Checkered Skipper, Pyrgus communis. Curious readers can get more information on BugGuide.

Letter 35 – Common Checkered Skipper

 

Possible Silver Butterfly?
Location:  Grandville, MI
August 23, 2010 1:46 pm
Spotted this while in the garden the other day.
PH

Common Checkered Skipper

Dear PH,
This is one of the Checkered Skippers in the genus
Pyrgus, and we believe it is the Common Checkered Skipper, Pyrgus communis, based on images posted to BugGuide.  BugGuide also indicates:  “Where the ranges overlap (i.e. central California, southern Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and the southeastern states), White Checkered-Skipper female is indistinguishable, and male is positively identifiable only with the specimen in hand (by extending the penis and verifying the species under a lense).

Thank you for your timely and informative response!
Paul Henson

Letter 36 – Female Checkered White

 

Butterfly
Location: North Texas
August 24, 2011 1:34 am
What is the common name of this species?
Signature: Anthony K.

Female Checkered White

Hi Anthony,
We really like your photo of a female Checkered White,
Pontia protodice, and we wish someone with more gardening knowledge would tell us the identity of this composite flower.  We identified it in Butterflies Through Binoculars, the West by Jeffrey Glassberg.

August 24, 2011 5:31 pm
Hi, the flower is a gaillardia.  I have some in my yard and really enjoy the blooms and resulting seed heads.
Thanks for giving us such a great bug site!
Signature: Donna Wilkinson

Thanks Donna.

Letter 37 – Ferocious Water Bug and possibly Checkered Beetle

 

We’re Stumped
Hi, Bug Man –
Last summer, we took a family vacation to Colorado. My daughter, a budding entomologist through 4-H, was excited about looking for any unusual insects that we don’t see in Indiana. Low and behold, we found just that. After getting them home in one piece, we are unable to identify either one. The first photo is some kind of water bug we found in a fountain in Boulder. We didn’t think it was a giant water bug nymph because the wings look developed. It’s about an inch an a quarter long. The second photo of the beetle has a story. We found this guy on top of our car after lunch in Colorado Springs. He went into a zip lock bag with another colorful beetle find. An hour later, we checked on our catch, only to find out that this beetle had eaten the other – so, we know it’s predaceous. The photo isn’t great, but the distinguishing features are the red abdomen with two symmetrical black spots. It’s about 5/8 of an inch long.
Thanks!
Becky

Hi Becky,
Your Water Bug is in the genus Belostoma, and they are sometimes called the Ferocious Water Bugs. The other photo is not detailed enough to be able to quickly identify it. We suspect it might be a species of Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but not one we recognize. Eric Eaton provided this information: “The checkered beetle with the toe biter is indeed a checkered beetle, family Cleridae. Many kinds of checkered beetles are valuable predators of bark beetles.”

Update:  May 31, 2016
Thanks to a comment that just arrived, we can provide a link to the Handsome Yucca Beetle, a species of Checkered Beetle, on BugGuide.

Letter 38 – Four Spotted Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: Red Beetle with black spots
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
June 30, 2013 6:57 pm
First thing that came to mind was lady bug, but it’s not similar in shape. Found in Cincinnati in mid-spring.
I live in Cincinnati, OH, and never saw so many different types of insects before, I moved here from cold Minneapolis, MN.
Signature: Emily Rose

Four Spotted Checkered Beetle
Four Spotted Checkered Beetle

Dear Emily Rose,
We quickly dismissed that this might be a Leaf Beetle and we then identified it as a Four Spotted Checkered Beetle,
Pelonides quadripunctatus, thanks to images posted to BugGuide, which indicates the beetles are active:  “March-May.”

Letter 39 – Inornate Checkered Beetle and Pallid Winged Grasshopper

 

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?
Signature: Cat

Inornate Checkered Beetle
Inornate Checkered Beetle

Hi Cat,
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.

Inornate Checkered Beetle
Inornate Checkered Beetle

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.

Pallid Winged Grasshopper
Pallid Winged Grasshopper

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!

 

 

Letter 40 – Longtailed Skipper and Checkered Skipper

 

My Two New Butterflies — Longtail Skipper and Checker Skipper
The butterfly that I NEVER seen before your website is the Longtail Skipper. What a cutie!! Then I noticed the Checker Skipper seconds later. The Longtail was in and around my garage — too dark for me to focus well. Then the Checker Skipper was in the direct sunlight and it was too bright for me to focus well. THEN my battery died. Ugh!! The attached pics are alright but not as good as I had hoped for. I should have gone to your website first to ID the Checker Skipper!! Since it’s pattern is so striking and I vaguely remembered a butterfly called a Checker, I searched “Checker Butterfly” and got the Checkerspot Butterfly… It went downhill from there until I ended up on the USFWS website and you know all about THAT!! I forgot to mention this earlier, I think I even had a Red Admiral in my yard today. I kid you not, it was like Grand Central Station. What a fun day!! Also, I forgot the flower info. You probably know the flower that the Longtail Skipper is on by now, if you didn’t already — the Mexican Sunflower. The Checker Skipper is on a Cosmos.
Jacqui

Hi Jacqui,
We are beginning to think that you alone could supply us with a steady stream of new images each day. Thanks for sending us your two Skipper images.

Letter 41 – Male Checkered White

 

Male Checkered White
Male Checkered White

Subject: A mystery white, and a checkerspot?
Location: Larimer county, CO, 8100′
October 10, 2014 8:46 am
A couple butterflies I hope you can help with. Both taken same location. Larimer county, Colorado foothills, 8100 feet elevation. October 8, 2014. Warm day, but well past 1st frost. The first is a white, of sorts. Markings don’t strike me as cabbage white, and doesn’t seem dark enough for pine white (especially underside). Whites (or white morph sulphurs) are troublesome for me. …
Signature: Matt in CO

Checkered White
Checkered White

Hi Matt,
We are going to split your request into two distinct postings as they need to be categorized into different butterfly families.  We believe the White is a male Checkered White,
Pontia protodice, and according to BugGuide:  “Sexually dimorphic. Males are nearly all white, with some dark spots and dashes on the dorsal side of FW. Females are have considerably more dark markings on the dorsal side of FW.”  BugGuide also notes:  “Rather irregular in distribution in eastern North America, not seen every year in many localities, such as Piedmont region of North Carolina.  Can be extremely abundant, sometimes in the Southwest and Great Plains with thousands of individuals swarming flowers and puddles, and even coming to lights at night.  Can seem to disappear for a year or three during extreme drought, only to explode in numbers when rains come.”  In Butterflies Through Binoculars The West, Jeffrey Glassberg writes:  “Most frequently encountered in the lowlands, but can be found on high peaks.”

Letter 42 – Mating Checkered Skippers from Puerto Rico

 

Um… two more. This one’s a pair of mating butterflies…
… but inland on Vieques. They’re maybe 2″ in diameter, and hairy as a pair of moths, but their antennae say “butterfly”, don’t they?
Jim

Hi Jim,
These are Checkered Skippers in the genus Pyrgus. Skippers are classified as butterflies.

Letter 43 – Mating Common Checkered Skippers

 

What is this butterflies called
Location: Austin, Texas
January 24, 2012 9:54 am
I have taken a picture of two butterflies and will like to know what kind are they, and if they are mating or are co-joined together. thank you for your help
Signature: Mauricio Alvarez

Checkered Skippers Mating

Dear Mauricio,
These Common Checkered Skippers, Pyrgus communis, which we believe we correctly identified on BugGuide, are in fact mating.
  BugGuide indicates:  “Larvae feed on mallows (Malvaceae), including Althea, Abutilon, Malva.  Adults take nectar.”  Thanks for sending these great photos, and we are especially happy that you show both the upper and under views of the wings.

Mating Common Checkered Skippers

Thank you very much for your help. Feel free to use those pictures in your website.
Mauricio

Letter 44 – Morning Glory Prominent or Checkered Fringe Prominent

 

Unicorn or morning glory prominent?
Attached is a photo of the caterpillar that was decimating my boyfriend’s rosebush in the beautiful North Georgia foothills. After finding your site we have tentatively identified it as either a unicorn prominent or a morning glory prominent, but the available online photos are not quite distinct enough to settle the debate (he says one, I say the other). Can you tell us which it is, and can you also tell us what it will turn into? Please feel free to use this photo on your site if you like. Best,
Ann and David

Hi Ann and David,
This is the second household debate we are being asked to settle this week. BugGuide has many excellent photos of the Morning Glory Prominent, Schizura ipomoeae, which we believe you have, as well as its close relative, the Unicorn Prominent. Additional support in the direction of the Morning Glory Prominent is that rose is listed as a food plant.

Checkered Fringe Prominent
ur wrong
Your morning glory is actually a Checkered Fringe Prominent. The same caterpillars are eating my roses but most are already in the prepupal stage.
Cameron

Hi Cameron,
Are we now? BugGuide lists both common names, Checkered Fringe Prominent and Morning Glory Prominent as the same species, Schizura ipomoeae. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Letter 45 – Ornate Checkered Beetle

 

Burying beetle?
Hi Bugman. So, I was watching this crab spider (under petal) on a Sego lily in the badlands near Douglas, WY when the flower was briefly visited by this guy. Is it a Burying beetle? You guys rock!
Dwaine

Hi again Dwaine,
We believe this is an Ornate Checkered Beetle, Trichodes ornatus, which seems to be the closest match on BugGuide. Some species in the family feed on pollen, which would explain its appearance on the blossom.

Letter 46 – Ornate Checkered Beetle

 

Black and Yellow Beetle
Location:  Sabino Canyon, Az
August 22, 2010 10:32 pm
I spied this colorful black & yellow beetle in a cactus flower while hiking Sabino Canyon (Az) in May. I have not been able to identify it. I wondered if the bugman might know?
Joe M

Ornate Checkered Beetle

Hi Joe,
We identified your Ornate Checkered Beetle,
Trichodes ornatus, on BugGuide much faster than we anticipated, but there is no information on the species which ranges throughout western North America.

Daniel,
Wow, that was fast!  Thanks a lot.  I always troll the WEB to identify the various things I photograph but this one really stumped me.
Thanks again,
Joe.

Letter 47 – Ornate Checkered Beetle

 

Subject: beetles
Location: southern BC, Canada
June 1, 2015 2:24 pm
I am sending 2 pictures of 2 different beetles I have found in the last 2 days. The turquoise/yellow obe was on my peonies and the other one was in the grass.
Signature: Jessica

Ornate Checkered Beetle
Ornate Checkered Beetle

Dear Jessica,
Because your two beetles must be categorized differently, we are splitting our response into two distinct postings.  We are thrilled to be able to post your image of an Ornate Checkered Beetle,
Trichodes ornatus, which we identified on BugGuide.  The members of the family, according to BugGuide, are:  “predaceous on other insects, larvae mostly on wood- and cone-borers; some adults feed on pollen; a few species are scavengers.”  According to iNaturalist:  “Larvae live in bee nests of mostly Megachilidae family species[2] and are parasitic. While in the nest they feed on the bees’ larvae or pollen. When they mature into an adult they begin feeding on yarrow, milkweed, and other plants of yellow colouration. The species males are 5–11 millimetres (0.20–0.43 in) long while females are 7–15 millimetres (0.28–0.59 in).” 

Letter 48 – Checkered Beetle from Borneo: Callimerus sp

 

Subject: Ant Beetle ?
Location: Balung River Eco Resort, Tawau, Sabah, Borneo.
November 18, 2013 6:27 am
Dear Mr. Bugman, I am glad to be able to return to this site again.
This time I have found a tiny ant-like beetle which I could not identify.
It’s length is smaller than 15mm. Could it be a Cleridae species?
Signature: C. X. Wong

Possibly Checkered Beetle
Possibly Checkered Beetle

Dear C. X. Wong,
Your beetle does resemble a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we cannot say for certain that is a correct family identification.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to confirm the family and provide some more specific information.

Possibly Checkered Beetle
Possibly Checkered Beetle

 

Letter 49 – Checkered Beetle from Canada

 

Subject: What is this bug.
Location: Ontario, Canada
November 17, 2015 12:17 pm
We have found a couple of these in our house… wondering what it is
Signature: Krysten

Checkered Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Dear Krysten,
We believe this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae, but we are unable to find a visual match on BugGuide.  It somewhat resembles the Red Bellied Clerid,
Enoclerus nigripes rufiventris, pictured on Birding New Burnswick or Enoclerus sphegeus pictured on Bold Systems Taxonomy.  Heading back to BugGuide, we found the latter to be listed as the Red Bellied Clerid.  We will contact Eric Eaton to get his opinion.

Eric Eaton Confirms Checkered Beetle Identification
Hi, Daniel:
Yes, a checkered beetle in the genus Enoclerus.  Not sure of the species.  Jacques Rifkind is an expert on these but I forget how to get in touch with him.
Eric

Letter 50 – Blister Beetle, not Checkered Beetle from Swaziland

 

Bug on flower
Location: Swaziland, Africa
January 21, 2012 1:29 pm
Hi,
I found this bug while visiting the Hlane Game Park in Swaziland. It was in January (Summertime and rain season in this side of the world…)
I really can’t classify it so I decided to ask for your assistance.
Thanks and all the best,
Luigi
Signature: Luigi

Checkered Beetle we believe

Dear Luigi,
In our opinion, this is a Checkered Beetle in the family Cleridae.  We are linking to the BugGuide page of Checkered Beetles though they are North American species.  You should be able to see the similarities.  They are described as:  “Body usually long and narrow, covered with bristly hairs and often marked with red, orange, yellow, or blue; head usually wider than pronotum; pronotum sybcylindrical and narrower than elytra; antennae vary considerably and are of great diagnostic value within the group.”

Correction Courtesy of Karl
Hi Daniel and Luigi:
It’s called a Felt Blister Beetle (Hycleus burmeisteri) and it is actually a Blister beetle in the family Meloidae.  The Field Guide to Insects of South Africa refers to it as Mylabris burmeisteri (probably an older synonym) and provides a description and some interesting information. As with most Blister Beetles, it is best not to touch. Regards.  Karl

Letter 51 – Tropical Checkered Skipper and Sleepy Orange

 

tropical checkered skipper
Hi there —
I didn’t notice this one in your nifty collection yet. This male tropical checkered skipper is actually rather small, only about an inch and a half across. Were it not for the ability to take a close photo, I’d never have identified it. There are lots of these around. This was taken in my back yard. The butterfly below the skipper, however, I have been unable to identify. It was a fast mover, and this was the only half decent photo I could get, on a bad angle, as you can see. It was perhaps the size of a cabbage butterfly. I wish I could have gotten a shot of it with wings open, but it was not to be. Any ideas?
Joanne Wilson
West Palm Beach, FL

Tropical Checkered Skipper Sleepy Orange

Hi Joanne,
Your letter represents two new species for us. The Tropical Checkered Skipper, Pyrgus oileus, is a southern species. According to our Butterflies through Binoculars Book by Jeffrey Glassberg: “You’ll need your close focusing binoculars and some patience to get good looks at these animals, but your efforts will be rewarded.” WE are almost certain your other butterfly is a Sleepy Orange, Eurema nicippe. The name sleepy does not refer to the flight which is quite frisky, though close to the ground. Sleepy refers to spots on the wings that resemble closed eyes. The food of the caterpillar is cassia.

Letter 52 – Checkered Beetle

 

Unknown Beetle
Checkered Beetle
Unknown Beetle
Checkered Beetle

Subject: Borers in Oregon
Location: Josephine Co., Oregon
October 19, 2014 5:39 pm
We were splitting Madrone firewood today (10/19/14), and it was full of borers of some kind. There were two varieties. The black & green variety was the most common (probably 90%), but there were also some of the red and black. We’re interested in learning more about them, particularly whether they’re a threat to our woods.
Signature: Jim

Hi Jim,
We have not had much luck identifying your red and black beetles, but it might be partly due to the lack of clarity in the images, and that they look velvety in texture, but we are not sure if that is an illusion.  Please clarify the tomentosity of your beetle, because other than the apparent texture of your individuals,  they remind us of Pleasing Fungus Beetles which are pictured on BugGuide.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to write in with an identification.

Arthur Evans identifies Checkered Beetle
Daniel,
Just saw this post on your page. It is a clerid beetle, Chariessa elegans <http://bugguide.net/node/view/169445>.
Cheers, ART
Arthur V. Evans, D.Sc.
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Research Collaborator:  Department of Entomology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

Authors

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24 thoughts on “All About Cleridae: A Fast Introduction to These Fascinating Beetles”

  1. I have come across a few of these beetles very much the same, although, they are black with red markings and I’m wondering what they are. I’ve never actually come across them until quite recently! I’ve spotted them in a nature reserve close to where I live.

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  2. Hi. The antennae and hind tarsi, plus the shape of the elytra, indicate that this beetle is a ‘blister beetle’ of the family Meloidae, and definitely not a clerid beetle. Cheers!

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  3. The checkered skipper that was perhaps ovipositing was in a dry creekbed behind our house. It’s full of wildflowers, including many evening primroses. That may be a dried/previously frozen leaf? I didn’t realize the butterfly was laying eggs until later; I should have checked the plant when the butterfly flew away. Thank you for all of your information and help. ~ Ellen

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  4. Thank you so much! Sorry to send so many submissions at once. I haven’t had much time to go “bug hunting” lately, so I snapped as many photos as I could today. Now I’ll have to concentrate on work once again, and the elusive Black Swallowtail will have to wait. I’ve seen about twenty of them this month, but haven’t gotten a good photo yet. Take care!

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  5. This is some kind of Cerambycidae (unique antenna) from subfamily lamiinae (flat face). I haven’t seen so hairy longhorn beetle yet. Hope you’ll identify it soon.

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  6. I suspected from the head it was a blister beetle; found it on Bugguide as Tricrania sanguinipennis. 😉

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    • Thank you so much for this correction, but considering the location in Idaho, it is more likely the western member of the genus Tricrania stansburyi (See BugGuide: http://bugguide.net/node/view/166902/bgpage ). Again, many thanks for bringing this to our attention. We needed to leave early yesterday and we posted quickly.

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  7. I just noticed several of these eating the leaves on several of my trees. I’m near Griffin, GA, not far from Lawrenceville. They have a good disguise don’t they? I wonder what role the moths they will become play in the garden. Can anyone share?

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  8. I have just found one of these in my home in Jersey, Channel Islands, UK. NEVER seen one before. he seems to have some little mites on him and is a moody little bugger.

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  9. I have recently come across a multitude of these beetles in the Tampa Bay area in Florida. They are tearing up the vines that grow on my property.

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  10. This is a Checkered Beetle, also known as Enoclerus Nigripes. This bug is not poisonous at all, But it might have bitten you. This bug is very common, But it is nothing to worry about.

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  11. Hello! Old post, I know, but here I am. I believe that red checkered beetle is specifically the handsome yucca beetle (Enoclerus spinolae).

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    • Thanks for providing a species identification on this ten year old posting of a Checkered Beetle. We have linked to the Handsome Yucca Beetle on BugGuide.

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  12. If it lives in Australia it’s deadly. Every insect in Australia is very dangerous if not deadly. I honestly love the people as a whole, and you can’t argue the awesome beauty everywhere you look.I would be doing everything possible to move there but, the sheer number of deadly bug species (mostly in the north) make it a no go zone for me.

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