Many kinds of beetles in the Calligrapha genus have long and short curvy lines along the back (dorsal) side. This species has lines that are literally straight-forward. Four white or ivory lines run down the back of the elytra (wing coverings). Just below the pronotum (‘neck’) is a white line that connects the two on the left and the two on the right. A closer look at that short, connecting line reveals a short line ‘dripping’ from it in two places. These small white line extensions resemble fangs or teeth. The species name for this beetle is bidenticola, which partially translates to ‘two teeth’. The head and pronotum are completely uniform in their maroon color, just like the rest of the body.
There are a few other species that have similar white lines and dark red coloring to this beetle. The Ragweed Leaf Beetle differs by a stripe along the side edges of the elytra by the legs, though this can be difficult to compare in the field or through a photograph. The California Calligraphy Beetle differs mainly in that its pronotum’s color has a black center and pale shades of yellow and ivory around it.
This is a native beetle and small enough to get overlooked, yet patterned in a way that can make it conspicuous to an observing eye. Host plants include aster, tickseed, and ragweed. Look for adults on or near these plants, which can be found in natural areas as well as manicured lawn and garden settings.
General Characteristics Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.
Territorial Map U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Prince Edward Is.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used for sensing.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.