8 native spp. in our area(1)
+ 4 spp. imported as biocontrol agents:
(Gyllenhall in Schönherr, 1808)
C. hexacyclus Smith, 1959
C. tricyclus Smith, 1959
Introduced species are: C. bipustulatus, circumdatus, kuwanae and nigrita
Mostly black with red spots; a few are black with no spots, or orange/red with or without spots.
Some spp. can be told apart externally only from ventral features, so flip the beetle over if you can!
ID tree based on distribution and external characteristics [adapted from(2)
Eastern and central North America
1) C. stigma - Widespread (US east of Sierra Nevada, Canada east of Rockies). Elytral spots tend to be much larger in the south. Venter (around legs) mostly black, only abdomen red or yellow.
Exceptions within C. stigma's range:
2) C. cacti - FL, so.TX, AZ, CA. Large elytral spots as with southern C. stigma. Venter mostly red or yellow. Only prosternum black.
3) C. tumidus - mid-Atlantic states - Round, highly-domed shape, not tapered apically. Elytra spots somewhat transverse (wider than they are long).
4) C. hexacyclus - Alberta, eastern slope of Rockies - externally inseparable from C. stigma
Western North America
6) C. orbus - probably Pacific states (WA-CA), not reaching Canada. Venter mostly dark with yellow or red abdomen (like C. stigma)
7) C. fraternus - probably same distribution as C. orbus. Externally inseparable from C. orbus.
8) C. tricyclus - probably BC. Externally inseparable from C. orbus.
Established populations are usually southern; releases for biocontrol may occur anywhere.
C. kuwanae - Introduced to CA, established throughout US. Elytral spots at middle or slightly behind middle, rather rectangular than circular in shape. Lateral margin of elytra strongly flared. Venter mostly black with red abdomen (like C. stigma, but may be darker red).
C. circumdatus - Introduced to and established in FL. Coloration distinctive: dorsum uniformly yellowish orange to light red.
C. bipustulatus - Introduced to CA, established in San Joaquin Valley. Dorsal pattern distinctive: reddish-brown with transverse band of six partially connected spots. Also recorded on BugGuide from MD, NJ, and BC.
C. nigrita - Introduced to FL. Black with no spots on elytra; whitish markings on head and pronotum. No other North American Chilocorus has white head/pronotum markings.
Usually arboreal (in trees) where scale insects are found.
Scale insects, especially in trees.
larvae of this genus aggregate before pupation (3)
Hyperaspis spp. - Several Hyperaspis can have the "black with two red spots" pattern:
The antennae of Hyperaspis are thin and have a slight club at the end. Chilocorus has short, stout antennae. Chilocorus individuals normally have a bit of flattened margin around the lateral elytral edge (explanate). They also can appear slightly pointed posteriorly, and/or appear to be more of an A-frame, than evenly convex as in Hyperaspis. Some Hyperaspis are easily identified by white markings on the head or front and lateral margins of the pronotum, but the all-black ones are more challenging.
Calvia quatuordecimguttata, dark form - again the lateral edge shape shows that this is not Chilocorus. Spots are also usually a little flattened apically, with a bit of a jagged edge and sometimes a little pink. Venter with red and black on abdomen.
Ashy-Gray Lady Beetle (Olla v-nigrum), dark form - easily distinguished by the white markings on the pronotum. Spots shaped like a triangle or half-moon, sloped toward the rear.
Axion plagiatum - throughout the southern and midwestern US. It is a member of tribe Chilocorini, closely related to Chilocorus, with the same shape and profile. Unlike all Chilocorus, it has black abdominal segments.