Family Cleridae - Checkered Beetles
From: U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. Insects of eastern forests. Misc. Publ. 1426. Washington D.C: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service 1985. p. 274-275
This is one of the most important families of insect predators attacking injurious forest insects. The adults are active, antlike, brightly colored, hairy beetles about 3 to 13 mm long. They feed on adult beetles. The larvae live in the galleries and tunnels of bark beetles and wood borers and destroy the immature stages of these insects.
Adults are distinguished by their 11-jointed and generally serrate antennae, the outer joints of which are longer and form open or compact clubs. The tarsi are five-jointed and the first four joints bear membranous appendages. Larvae are soft-bodied, elongate and parallel-sided, frequently highly colored though often white and thin-textured, and are from 9 to 13 mm long.
Most species spend the winter in the larval stage. Others overwinter as pupae or as adults in pupal cells in the bark. The larvae travel down the tunnels of their hosts eating one larva after another. Some are capable of consuming several times their own weight of these larvae. A few of the more important predators of forest insects are discussed below.
Chariessa pilosa (Forster) is one of the most common species in eastern forests. Its known hosts include several species of borers in hardwoods, and the smaller European elm bark beetle. The adult is a wedge-shaped, flattened beetle about 6 to 13 mm long. The thorax is red with two black stripes and the wing covers are black with dense, fine punctures. The larva is fairly robust, widest at the middle, and of a bluish tinge. Adults are often observed feeding on insects attracted to freshly cut logs during the summer.
Thanasimus dubius (F.) is one of the most important predators of the destructive bark beetles in the Eastern United States. The adult is a brightly colored, hairy beetle about 7 to 10 mm long. The head, thorax, and base of the wing covers are dull red; the antennae and legs are red to pitch black; and the wing covers are mostly black with crossbands of whitish hairs. The larva is elongate, fusiform, and purplish with brown sclerotized areas.
Winter is spent in the larval, pupal, or adult stages. In early spring, the adults emerge and fly to beetle-infested trees or logs and feed on bark beetles as they emerge from hibernation. Eggs are deposited in entrances to bark beetles galleries. Young larvae feed on bark beetle eggs; older ones feed on beetle larvae, pupae, and adults. Pupation occurs in cells in the outer bark.
Enoclerus nigripes (Say) larvae feed on bark beetles in conifers, and on wood borers in hardwoods. Adults are brightly colored and about 8 to 12 mm long. The head, thorax, base of the wing covers, and the undersides are dull red; the remainder is black except for two yellowish crossbars on the wing covers. The larvae are similar to those of T. dubius. The blackbellied clerid, E. lecontei (Wolcott), has many hosts including bark beetles and weevils in pine, spruce, and juniper. It also feeds on bark beetles, weevils, and small borers in hardwoods.
Monophylla terminata (Say) feeds on borers and bark beetles in hardwoods. There also are reports of its feeding on white pine weevil larvae in white pine. Adults are about 4 to 8.5 mm long. The eyes are deeply notched in front, the last joint of the antenna is as large or larger than all of the others combined, the thorax is yellow with a black disk, and the sides of the wing covers are yellow. The larvae are white, soft-textured, and bear two well-separated hooks on the ninth abdominal segment.
Cymatodera bicolor (Say) is an important enemy of roundheaded and flatheaded borers in hardwoods in the Eastern United States. Adults are about 5 to 10 mm long. The color is dull blackish except for the legs, thorax and basal joints of the antennae which are reddish yellow mixed with black. The larvae are purplish.
Tarsostenus univittatus (Rossi) is an important predator of powderpost beetles and other borers in dry, seasoned wood. The adult is small, slender, and shiny black except for a white mark across the middle of the elytra. The larva is very small and a light violet, except for brown or yellowish markings. There are two recurved hooks on the ninth abdominal segment.
Neichnea laticornis (Say) feeds on various species of bark beetles in the Middle Atlantic States. The adults are small, slender, and black except for a spot on the head and the sides of the thorax, which are golden yellow.
Many other clerids are also predacious on various forest insects in the Eastern States. Priocera castenae Newman feeds on bark beetles in conifers; Phlogistosternus dislocatus (Say) and Orthopleura damicornis (F.) feeds on the larvae of borers and bark beetles in both hardwoods and conifers. Descriptions of clerids occurring in Ohio are available.
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