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Ornate Checkered Beetle

Trichodes ornatus

Trichodes ornatus photo © by Mike Plagens

This Ornate Checkered Beetle (Trichodes ornatus) was feeding on pollen in a California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) flower at South Mountain in Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Arizona April 2010. Actual size is about 6mm.

Cleridae -- Checkered Beetle Family

Most species of Checkered Beetles are brightly colored and very often as the name suggests the pattern is checkered in appearance. Most are rather small, less than 10 mm. Adult beetles feed frequently on pollen or nectar within flowers. The immature larva stage lives as a predator or cleptoparasite (lit. stealing) of other insects living with wooden galleries.

The Ornate Checkered Beetle immature stage grub feeds inside nests of leaf cutter bees. This activity may destroy one or more brood chambers and bee grubs. Leafcutter bees are important pollinators of seed alfalfa and so the beetle is sometimes considered a pest. It is a widespread and common beetle across much of western North America, from Canada to Mexico.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010