|Family Cleridae – Checkered Beetles|
Enoclerus quadriguttatus, Enoclerus rosmarus
Live adult beetles photographed at McKee Marsh, West Chicago, Illinois, USA.
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Enoclerus rosmarus Size= 8mm
The checkered beetles (Family Cleridae), are small insects found primarily in woodlands. The name "checkered beetle" refers to the conspicuous colorful bands across the back of the adults. Their rounded bodies are often covered with dense, short hairs (pubescence). Common species are between 10-15mm. There are about 250 described species in the U.S. and 2500 worldwide. The adults are fairly long-lived and can be seen for several months during the summer.
The majority of clerid beetles are predaceous on wood-boring beetles, especially bark beetles, and are very important natural controls of these forest pests. Adult clerid beetles feed on the adult wood-borers, while the larvae prey on the immature stages, including the eggs. Other species feed on grasshopper egg pods, a few have been reported as predators of gall insects, and one genus, Necrobia, has departed from the typical food habit of the family and are primarily scavengers. The clerid below is attacking an adult ladybug.
Female beetles lay eggs on wood-borer-infested trees. The eggs are usually placed in the host entrance gallery or in cracks or crevices in the bark. The red or yellow, flat or rounded larvae that hatch from the eggs are covered with hairs and have horny projections on top of one body segment. The larvae search for prey in wood-boring insect tunnels, but they, too, can bore through dead wood themselves if necessary. After they have completed their larval development many species move to the base of the tree to pupate in earthen cells, created from soil and secretions from glands inside their mouths. Others remain in their hosts' gallery or pupal cell. Development may take more than a year, or there may be one or more generations per year, depending on the life cycle of their prey. Depending on the species, the beetle may overwinter as adults, larvae or pupae.
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Order Coleoptera: Beetles are the dominant form of life on earth: one of every five living species is a beetle. Coleoptera is the largest order in the animal kingdom, containing a third of all insect species. There are about 400,000 known species worldwide, ~30,000 of which live in North America. Beetles live in nearly every habitat, and for every kind of food, there's probably a beetle species that eats it.
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