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Calligrapha Beetle (Calligrapha bidenticola)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Calligrapha Beetle

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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
Full-sized image of the Calligrapha-Beetle-bidenticola Thumbnail image of the Calligrapha-Beetle-bidenticola

A dark red or maroon body perfectly showcases creamy white lines on this particular Calligrapha beetle.

Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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
Flying insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Chrysomelidae
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          Genus: Calligrapha
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            Species: bidenticola
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Calligrapha bidenticola
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 11mm (0.27" to 0.43")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red; white; ivory; brown
Descriptors: white lines; four white stripes; small white teeth; maroon; burgundy; dark red; dome; flying

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 7mm (0.3in) and 11mm (0.4in)
Lo: 7mm
Md: 9mm
Hi: 11mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Calligrapha Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Calligrapha Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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