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It's ba-a-a-ack! - Cycloneda polita

It's ba-a-a-ack! - Cycloneda polita
Alameda County, California, USA
November 14, 2009
Size: ~0.1 in., 2.5 mm
By noon today, the larva had returned. One more egg had collapsed, and Coccidracula started in on another one.

This larva certainly looks like C. polita except for its yellowish tone, which is easily explained by its diet.

Images of this individual: tag all
Fratricide? - Cycloneda polita Fratricide? - Cycloneda polita It's ba-a-a-ack! - Cycloneda polita Still eating eggs - Cycloneda polita Branching out - Cycloneda polita


Yes, C. polita
Structurally, it's a match for Cycloneda (head, legs, arrangement of tergae). Even with the egg-induced orange color, similar to that of C. s_anguinea, the shape of the abdomen indicates that this is C. polita.

A piece of wood is an unusually bare surface for a non-wood-boring beetle to lay eggs on, that's probably why the female balanced one fertile egg with so many infertile ones - the single larva was going to need a lot of nutrition to survive until it reached a more hospitable environment.

Hi Abigail,

I can't seem to get my head around this ID :o|

Aren't for example the black patches on the thorax segments way to wide and "drop shaped" (pointing far to the center!) for Cycloneda??

Reproductive strategies
Can females control the ratio of infertile to fertile eggs, then? The idea that they do so consciously is odd--but they must consciously choose an egg-laying site.

Three clutches of eggs appeared on this lath last season. It's part of a structure to support bean vines. Maybe it attracted females because it smelled nice and aphidy, since the vines had aphids. However, eventually cold weather and the exploding population of aphids killed the vines, and by the time this larva hatched, there weren't many aphids very near. Most of the eggs dried up without hatching. I should think there'd be better places to lay eggs.

I don't know if the females d
I don't know if the females do it intentionally, but there have been lab studies (mostly on H. a_xyridis) that indicate different percentages of infertile eggs under different environmental/food-supply conditions. I really need to take a field trip to the library where my husband works so I can access JSTOR articles...

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