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Spiny Critter - Chilocorus

Spiny Critter - Chilocorus
Plano, Collin County, Texas, USA
August 8, 2007
Size: 5/16" - 3/8"


Pupae stage duration?
Can anyone tell me how long they stay in this state? Nothing much seems to be happening, if anything they are shrinking or perhaps dying. No sign of an adult in a few days now.

No noticble change.
The bark of Crape Myrtles is very thin and sheds off this time of year. I brought the sample in picture #3 home and placed it in the same kind of tree so I could monitor them. No real noticable change as of now.

indeed looks like Chilocorus sp.

Boris, what's needed to get these to species?
I have a hunch three of us have the same twice-stabbed ladybird. Cindy Calisher and I posted ours earlier.

what's needed . . .
A species key (in American Beetles?), and, perhaps, the individual and a scope. I cannot help, sorry!
Nearctica lists nine species, of which I personally know only one (bipustulatus), which is not in the guide. Species characteristics may be of rather subtle nature.

Thanks, Boris
It's always good to know what to expect. I was particularly curious with this one, since, between the three of us, there was probably a good chance someone could get a specimen for someone else to check.

Cindy's post, which I assume you've seen by now, was very thorough, covering the resident sycamore lace bugs as a food supply. (Host bug?)

just need a ventral photo
from Gordon's ref.(1), C. stigma is really the only possibility for this location. Southern Texas should get C. catci, but not much more than a 200 miles north of the southern tip of the state. In any case, C. stigma will have a red abdomen but black sterna (area around where legs are attached), whereas C. catci will be mostly red abdomen and sterna. I have noticed that the dorsal red spots seem to be considerably larger on the more souther examples of C. stigma, and this photo is no exception. They're so much bigger it can make it look like a different species. But it's still C. stigma.

C. stigma =

C. catci =

range not reliable in Texas
BG has an image of C. cacti from the Oklahoma panhandle, reliably identified by a ventral photo. As that is farther north than the entire state of Texas, I don't think we can use range alone to separate the species. Especially for individuals with large spots, like this one; small spots would imply C. stigma, certainly, but since both C. stigma and C. cacti can have large spots, I don't believe this can be ID'd as either species.

So we have a winner!
Good info, Tim. The larva photo to the far left is what threw me off. BTW, have you seen Cindy's post as linked there? I think she has C. orbis and am pretty sure either she or I can get a ventral photo, assuming it would help in ID on that beetle.

I think she's got C. cacti, actually...
Based on the red thoracic areas ventral view of one of the adults, I'm calling it as C. cacti. The individual in question does appear to be on its back because it's dead and maybe gnawed-on, but I can't imagine death would turn a black thorax lighter and more colorful. The insects are in the CA range for C. cacti and have the large spots typical of the species, as well - which aren't 100% certain ways to ID it, of course, but that plus the mostly-red venter, plus the mostly-pale colors of the larvae, says C. cacti to me.

agree here but not sure about there
I agree that range is not the best determiner, so for this TX one if you think it should move to genus, that's probably safer than where I put it under C. stigma.

But I'm not sure about C. cacti for Cindy's CA ladybird. Months after my C. orbus suggestion, I took a better look at the larva images and I believe I see them key to Axion plagiatum. If I remember the key correctly, the number of (spikes) on the thorasic plates appear to be important. I'd been meaning to comment on them but never got around to it. See what you think.

now I agree there, mostly
Cindy's larvae do match Axion very well, and not Chilocorus when it comes to those thoracic terga and spikes. What do you make of the underside of this adult, though?

not Chilocorus,
I think we can conclude that it's not Chilocorus, as most (all?) of them have at least the abdominals red/orange.
C. cacti
C. kuwanae

And although it's a bit lighter, I submit that this one largely has the red/orange in the same locations as the image I thumbed above (enlarge it for best viewing). The red on this ladybird underside is just a bit more visible due to the viewing angle, and dark lighting on the other one.

So like I stated in another Axion post, Gordon doesn't even mention the underside coloration (which I found a little strange), but in my opinion this certainly points toward Axion.

A. plagiatum, brightened
With Margarethe Brummermann's permission, I posted an edited version of her A. plagiatum venter image:

I also took a really close look at Cindy's photo, and I agree with you, it is not Chilocorus. The adult dorsum, distinctive larvae, and southern California location add up to A. plagiatum, just as you suggested.

Whew! Good to have that sorted out.

C. orbus OR C. fraternus
unfortunately a belly shot is not helpful for west coast Chilorcorus species. See comments here.

Thanks so much for your clear, concise answer.
I missed this point before, but think your concept of a combined C. orbus/C. fraternus page is wonderful and would have broad application with other types of insects as well. (Syrphids come to mind.)

Maybe the idea should be advanced in a forum?

I think we can
I think we can just request an editor to do it. Multi-species pages are already in use for some other inseparables (I seem to remember several in the leaf beetles).

Also, I just posted a "key" to the NAmer Chilocorus on the genus info page. Hopefully this will help us all in sorting out these ladybirds.

beetle pupae
and then - Lady Beetles! Hope to see more of the adult images

J&J - Did you check the photo on the far left?
Comments and link on possible adults there.

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