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Weird Spiked Bug

Weird Spiked Bug
Maynard, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
August 23, 2009
Size: About 1/8".

Moved from Chilocorinae.

Moved from Beetles.

Moved from ID Request.

My guess is a lady bug larva.

Probably yes
Definitely a beetle larva. It has the large head and prominent mandibles of a predator, such as a lady beetle, although the bulky body and short legs are less common for critters that run around catching other insects. Those bristly spines are distinctive. Was it on a plant? Did you notice any other insects around, like aphids, mealybugs, or scales?

Unfortunately, there were no other clues to go by. I found it on my shirt outside the house after getting out of the car. Not sure at what point during the day it wound up on me!

Thanks for the comments, though, it should help in the search.

thoughts on ID
Those spindly, branched spines on a black/gray body are making me think of Chilocorus, which specialize on scale insects in trees and other woody, deciduous plants. They don't have to have the long legs and streamlined body of the aphid-eaters because scale insects don't run away!

Spindly spines on an orange or yellow lady beetle larva would make it one of the plant-eaters, like the alfalfa beetle or Mexican bean beetle - luckily yours isn't one of those :-)

Where did you put it after you found it? On a leafy tree or in any patch of plants w/o insecticide is fine for these little predators.

Forgot to mention...
I put it in the grass near the side of the house since I didn't know where it came from. Hopefully it was able to find its way to a suitable environment!

plenty to eat there
Little insects, mites, ants, and so forth are good eatin'. It should be fine!

The body was actually orange. Is it not showing up for you as such?

From what I've seen of other Chilocorus images I've looked at so far, I think you're probably right. Looks like it may be one in the prepupal stage?

I'm a bit colorblind, but not really badly. The alfalfa and Mexican bean beetles are really bright yellow-orange, canary-on-a-sunflower-eating-tangerine orange. They wouldn't be a subdued grayish-orange like this.

Prepupal or pre-molt larvae have a stretched, pale appearance, and yours is probably about to do one of those things. It'll be a lovely black lady beetle five days after pupating. Nice find!

on which page do you want this one?

I'll count the chalizae...
After a month of being "out of order" (banged up my shoulder, could hardly type!) I'm raring to go on Coccinellidae again :-) I'm sticking it under Chilocorinae till I can consult my larval key.

so glad to have you back!
the H.Parker was unable to type for a while due to a wrist injury; now it's your arm... what's wrong with you parkers? follow the Upper Limb User Manual religiously!!!

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