The Globemallow Leaf Beetle changes colors from bold to bright as it matures all while retaining its metallic luster.
The Globemallow Leaf Beetle may look like a type of Lady Bug, or Lady Beetle, but it is not. As a member of the Leaf Beetle family, its diet is plant-based, unlike the carnivorous diet of Lady Bugs. In fact, many Leaf Beetles are considered pests thanks to the extensive damage they inflict on the plants they are eating. The Globemallow Leaf Beetle's preferred vegetation are plants in the mallow family, specifically the bushy, bright, desert-growing Globemallow, though they have also been spotted on hollyhocks. They chew on the leaves of the plant as adults.
Eggs are laid on the bottoms of leaves. Globemallow Leaf Beetles larvae emerge and look very different from their more mature selves. Larvae are black, dull and hairy. After pupating, however, they become a rich, red color with black lines and spots on the elytra (wing covering). As they age, the red gives way to orange and yellow and then eventually a bright green color. The black stripes and spots do not change, nor is the metallic sheen lost during this color morphing.
They are commonly found in areas of desert scrub, open fields and backyard gardens of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. Summer months are their most active season.
Scientific Name: Calligrapha serpentina
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 10mm (0.27in to 0.39in)
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Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
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.