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Globemallow Leaf Beetle (Calligrapha serpentina)

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

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The Globemallow Leaf Beetle comes in a variety of colors from bold to bright as it matures all while retaining its metallic luster.

Updated: 01/03/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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. They chew on and consume the leaves of the host plant. The Globemallow Leaf Beetle's preferred vegetation is plants in the mallow family, specifically the bushy, bright, desert-growing Globemallow, though they have also been spotted on hollyhocks, too.

Eggs are laid on the bottoms of leaves. Globemallow Leaf Beetle 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, yellow, and 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.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Rounded insect body icon
Shiny 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: serpentina

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Calligrapha serpentina
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 7mm to 10mm (0.27" to 0.39")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; green; yellow; red; orange
Descriptors: round; flying; metallic; shiny; shimmering; spots; lines; stripes; southwest

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 7mm (0.3in) and 10mm (0.4in)
Lo: 7mm
Md: 8.5mm
Hi: 10mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Globemallow Leaf 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 Globemallow Leaf Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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