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3189 Views 9 Replies Last post: May 25, 2011 10:24 AM by SeaRayz RSS
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May 24, 2011 1:06 AM

Maybe a Beetle of Sorts?

Hi all,

 

Hope you can help me with this one, to be honest I'm not even sure its a beetle.  I was thinking some type of wart beetle or similar.  This guy is about 6mm long, I thought it was just a empty ladybird pupa, but it has 6 legs, and two anntenae.

 

Thanks for looking

Crystal

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    May 24, 2011 6:52 AM (in response to SeaRayz)
    Re: Maybe a Beetle of Sorts?

    Well, it probably was a beetle or maybe a bug - but we can't see which from these photos.  What has happened here is that the insect has become infected with an entomopathogenic (i.e. insect-infecting) fungus.  There are quite a few of these and there is an interest in using them for biological pest control.  You can find more information here:

     

    # http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entomopathogenic_fungus

     

    It might be possible to get a better view of the inseect if you dissect off some of the fungus under a microscope.

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    May 24, 2011 12:45 PM (in response to SeaRayz)
    Re: Maybe a Beetle of Sorts?

    Hi there

    I will be honest- insects i love them but I'm not the specialist in that subject.

     

    My first impression was that this is an aphid, but when I check that in internet i found that : http://http://www.easttennesseewildflowers.com/gallery/search.php?searchstring=coleoptera

    may be that will help you to find the answer. (go down the page 4th picture)

     

    ;-) joanna

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      May 24, 2011 12:48 PM (in response to jjoanna)
      Re: Maybe a Beetle of Sorts?
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        May 24, 2011 2:03 PM (in response to jjoanna)
        Re: Maybe a Beetle of Sorts?

        The Mealy Bug Destroyer is a good call but it is the larvae of a Ladybird beetle. The insect in question has the undercarriage of a bug so I think Clive is on the money on this occasion.

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      May 24, 2011 3:24 PM (in response to SeaRayz)
      Re: Maybe a Beetle of Sorts?
      Hello Crystal. Where abouts are you posting from.
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    May 25, 2011 8:40 AM (in response to SeaRayz)
    Re: Maybe a Beetle of Sorts?

    Hi Crystal,

     

    Your photos are excellent! Most of the comments you've received are fairly wide of the mark except for the person who said it could be an aphid. In fact this belongs to a group related to aphids and is a type of scale insect. It is adult and it belongs to a family called the Ortheziidae, which often live under stones or in tangles of mossy vegetation. Others, like yours, feed on aerial parts of their host plants. These individuals are in lovely condition and are definitely not suffering from fungal attack. The adult females (males are extremely tiny and resemble flies) secrete large amounts of white wax all over the body and this may help with managing the micro-climate around the insect. At the hind end of the individual you can clearly see a fluted waxy extension - this is termed an ovisac and it contains hundreds of eggs. When the eggs hatch, the minute crawlers emerge from the end of the ovisac and can wander to find themselves suitable feeding sites - and some will be dispersed by air currents. Scale insects are true bugs (Hemiptera) and feed on plant sap via tubular stylets. Members of this family are called "ensign scales" because the action of walking causes the ovisac to waggle from side to side, like signalling flags. They are relatively unusual because they can (and do) walk with their ovisacs attached - most other scales remain static once an ovisac has been produced. [The white flecks on many urban tree trunks and branches are ovisacs of a different type of scale insect.]

     

    Identifying ortheziids is very difficult, partly because all that wax usually has to be carefully removed. Once "bald" they are chemically treated and mounted flat on glass slides. Even then, they are covered in thousands of long hairs that obscure important characterisitcs. In good condition like yours, some may be identifiable by a specialist from the patterns of the waxy secretions. I don't know where yours were photographed. If in UK they might be a common pest of warmer parts of the world that has become established in a glasshouse, called Insignorthezia insignis. Native British species include Arctorthezia cataphracta, Newsteadia floccosa [floccosa meaning woolly / flocculent] and Orthezia urticae. Some species are pretty hardy creatures, and those feeding on roots and living under rocks can be found in places like Iceland, Svalbard and Greenland.

     

    I hope this information will be interesting to you and other readers,              Jon Martin, NHM Entomology Dept

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