These flashy beetles can be found in fields, meadows, gardens, lawns and yards across eastern North America to the Rockies (Noza Scotia-Florida to Alberta-Texas) to Venezuela / West Indies. Both the larvae and adults feed on plants in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), creating irregular or semi-circular holes in leaves, inside the margins and between veins. This got Connie and us wondering, could these help in the battle against Field Bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis), a noxious weed that vines its way into many of our yards. We’re not sure. They have been introduced as a biocontrol in British Columbia for Field Bindweed and Hedge False Bindweed, but “To date, establishment has not been confirmed.” The document was created in 2015…we’d be interested to know more.
Besides their penchant for plants, the larvae have a flair for the dramatic. “The larvae carry their cast skins and fecal material attached to spines arising from the posterior end of their body, a structure called an “anal fork.” The anal fork is movable, and is used to hold the debris over the back of the body, forming a “shield” which deters predation.” (BugGuide) View some awesome photos of the life cycle and the “poop parasols” here.
Size: ~5 mm
Photo by: Connie Geiger on 5/29/22 in Helena, MT