Monday, January 10, 2011

Eight-Spotted Tumbling Flower Beetle


This wedge shaped little bug is the Eight-Spotted Tumbling Flower Beetle (Hoshihananomia octopunctata) and they are found throughout Eastern North America. They are easily overlooked because of their diminutive size and at just 1/4 of an inch in length it is easy to see why. The wings and thorax are dark with distinct yellow markings. The head is flattened and wide and the abdomen comes to a point. They are found most anywhere flowers are found including gardens, meadows, prairies along roadsides and open fields. The adults eat pollen and nectar especially that of Queen Anne's Lace and the larvae apparently eat the plant material on which they are reared. Very little is reported on their lifecycle, although it is known that the female will lay her eggs on or near decaying pithy wood of hardwood trees. The resulting offspring feed on this decayed wood or on the fungus associated with the dying tree.

(Photo by: Steve Scott)

These beetles get their common name from their habit of "tumbling" off flowers and feigning death when disturbed.

16 comments:

  1. Very nice little bug, they look close to an earwig.You were given a nice review in Nature Center Mag this morning.We are snowed in good today, I made a path to a neighbors for the mailman, but am lazy for the rest.Good day to grill.

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  2. Thanks Steve, I never thought about these guys looking like earwigs, but I guess they do somewhat resemble them. Thank you for letting me know about the article in Nature Center Magazine. I will go check it out.
    We have about 8 inches of snow on the ground, my car is completely covered all you can see are the wheels. Our driveway is drifted in and it is SOOOOO cold here today.

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  3. As Missourians by birth and at heart, we have appreciated checking in on this blog for some time...As traveling wildlife field biologists, we enjoy our holiday time at home and have missed the summer thriving animalia for some time in Missouri... But while we have not seen most of the Midwest snakes and bugs of summer for some time, we did enjoy fresh red-fox tracks yesterday in the snow, a lone coyote sighting, and PLENTY of owls and birds of prey to fill our hearts content :) Glad to be following your site- and your macro pictures are always stunning!

    -Carrie and Ben
    www.benandcarrietracks.blogspot.com

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  4. Carrie and Ben I am so happy that you found your way to my blog. Your job sounds like so much fun, to be able to get out and research nature would be a dream come true. I will hop over and check out your blog soon. If you have time hop over to my other blog and read the post about the family of foxes that took up residence on our farm. We had so much fun watching them grow up over the summer. http://naturalmissouri.blogspot.com/2010/05/red-fox.html
    If you click home at the bottom of the page you will see my last post which I am ashamed to say was back in July. It was on rattlesnakes. I will get to conduct my own research project with one of the local professors on the timber rattlesnakes that live on one of our family farms. I look forward to hearing from you both again

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  5. Cool bug. Another that I've not seen.

    (BTW: I've found that far too many of my insect subjects are prone to tumbling, flying or simply vanishing into thin air. Photos of empty leaves abound.)

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  6. Thanks Marvin, I've only ever seen one of these in my backyard garden. I've experienced the same phenomenon on many occasion of disappearing bugs LOL.
    What a great defense, a disappearing act!

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  7. I've seen this particular tumbler, but have some much less clear photos of several others, probably because they were just starting to tumble away form me. Very nice images, Shelly.

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  8. Thank you James. I probably have many more of these around, but their tiny size makes them easy to overlook. I plan to seek these little guys out this spring and summer.

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  9. I've been looking around in this site. Boy have I learned a few things. I thinks I have become interested in the little critters that I always thought of as nuisances.

    Copas

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  10. Copas---thank you for stopping by and I love that you might be reconsidering your opinion on insects.

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  11. Nice blog and photos Shelly! I have been working on the VA mordellids for the past two years and plan to eventually publish an annotated checklist for the state.

    Best to you and yours in 2011!

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  12. Thanks Dr. Evans, this is the only species in this family that I have ever found in our yard or on our property. Of course they are so tiny I am probably overlooking them. I can hardly wait until spring so I can get back outside bug hunting and taking pictures. Do u have your list anywhere near done?

    I was asked by one of our conservation agents to do a morning radio segment for a local radio station. I remembered that you were doing a radio segment also. Mine will be 2 minute time allotments. I plan to do them on insects. They are supposed to start in February.

    Hope your New Year brings a lot fun and adventures

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  13. Really interesting little guys! I'll look for them in my yard now. I just finished a post about a woodpecker drilling into an old compass plant stalk. Possibly the bird was looking for the larva of this beetle. I'll link to your great photos!

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  14. These little beetles are much tinier than they appear in the photo. A person has to look close to find them....I've only ever found one in our gardens, but probably walked by dozens. Woodpeckers are very intelligent birds when it comes to finding food. I photographed one a year or so ago pecking into a praying mantis egg case. Thank you for the link on your site...I will head there and read your post on the woodpecker

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  15. Very nice blog,indeed.What I seen on my eight o'clocks resembled a hummingbird,but it was some kind of a moth with a very long antenna in front,may be you might know what it was.I have never seen anything like it.It wasn't in my wildlife book.Might get a picture tonight. Thanks

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