Antlered Leaf Beetle & Spotted Judoline

48182646202_950dd71997_k.jpg
Photographed after capture under controlled conditions [6], scale bar approximated

While out on the black cotton soil today, I spotted two tiny dots in the center of two leaves. Looking more closely, they were actually cute leaf beetles just 4 mm in length, resting motionless to resemble some sort of outgrowth on the leaves. They belong to the subfamily Cassidinae (Chrysomelidae), a clade consisting of beautifully adorned tiny beetles including the tortoise beetles, and many of which have large adhesive pads on the tarsal segments of their feet. Together with a small head and thick string-like antennae, this gives them a comical and adorable look. These two beetles (Dicladispa testacea) are heavily protected with tough black spines as well as a pair of four-pronged antlers protruding from the thorax, reminding me white-tailed deer horns. After searching the plant, I was able to find several larvae and pupae, also positioned at the center, though inside, of the leaves. Dicladispa is a leaf miner, biting on the underside of a leaf and ovipositing a single egg before closing the gap with frass. A single larva will spend its entire phase feeding on the mesophyll in that single leaf and eventually pupates along a narrow channel near the surface of the leaf. Finally, out pops a beautiful little leaf beetle, ready to continue chewing on its host plant to leave just an airy network of dry leaf veins.

49664107723_e8f0415a89_k.jpg
Photographed in situ [1]

Ever since the first rains arrived, we’ve also seen a mass emergence of spotted jewel beetles (Buprestidae: Sternocera castanea boucardii).

See this link for the wonderful diversity of color within the Sternocera genus.

49664107078_4b2d491859_k.jpg
Photographed in situ [1]
49664932942_1b67f6e51c_k
Photographed after capture [5]
49664108253_6320072e8d_k.jpg
Photographed in situ [1]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star