ID Challenge #16

This will be the last post for BitB Challenge Session #5 (for a recap of the current standings see ). This is a straight up identification challenge, but with a twist. Can you identify the subject of this photo and its likely meal? The points will be a little different this time—only 1 pt each for order and family (because these are too easy) but 4 pts each for genus and species (because these are pretty hard). This goes for both subject and meal. Standard challenge rules apply (except as modified here), including moderated comments, tie-breaker points for first correct answers, and possible bonus pts for additional relevant information at my discretion (note: subfamilies, tribes, supergenus, hyperspecies, etc. do not constitute additional relevant information). ¡Buena suerte!

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012

About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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30 Responses to ID Challenge #16

  1. Gustavo says:

    It looks like Eriopis connexa, I am not sure of the plant, but since I have been following your trip, I will say Glycine max.

  2. I’m pretty sure the beetle is Eriopis connexa (Order Coleoptera, Family Coccinellidae). I think that the most likely meal for this guy would be aphids (Order Hemiptera, Family Aphididae). I don’t know what the plant is, though, so I don’t know about genus or species for the aphids.

  3. Gustavo says:

    Tetranychus sp?

  4. tim eisele says:

    It looks to me like either a young leaf or an immature pod of a soybean plant, Glycine max. And while checking for pictures to make sure I remembered what a soybean pod looked like, I found a picture of a Bean Leaf Beetle that looks kind of like it (although the antennae of this one are too short, the color scheme doesn’t quite match, and the Bean Leaf Beetle doesn’t have those bulbous maxillae). Still, it could be the same family, at least.

    So I’ll go for Coleoptera, family Chrysomelidae, genus Cerotoma for now. Maybe I’ll find something to narrow it down a bit later.

    And they aren’t the obvious subject of the picture, but those little black, shiny things on the tips of some of the hairs on the lower left side look like some kind of extremely miniscule mites. Which are presumably also eating the plant.

    • tim eisele says:

      The more I think about it, the more those bulging maxillae bother me. Granted that it’s hard to find good photos of a beetle’s face, the only ones that I’ve seen that are bulging and spade-like like that are in or near the family Coccinellidae. The problem is, all of those look stockier and rounder, with the head tucked more under the pronotum.

      Argh!

      Of course, I kind of expect this is an Argentinian beetle, so it could easily be quite a bit different from what one would expect in North America. And, when I do searches with the keywords “beetle” and “argentina”, I mostly get your pictures, so that isn’t really getting me anywhere.

      • Okay – the family gets you 1 more point. Also, I was so tickled by your last comment that I’m giving you a couple of pts for that also (but only because doing so doesn’t affect standings in this challenge or in the overalls).

        New total = 6 pts

    • Well, I feel bad giving you just a single point (order) for all of that writing, but at least you’re still doubting yourself.

      I’m going to give you 2 bonus pts, however, for being the only person to pick up on the little black dots in the photo. They aren’t mites, but they are a big clue as to what the prey actually is.

      Total = 3 pts

  5. Dennis Haines says:

    Order: Coleoptera
    Family: Coccinellidae
    Genus: Eriopis
    Species: connexa

    This ladybird beetle feeds on aphids (Homoptera: Aphididae) and mites (Acari: Tetranychidae). I found records for Acyrthosiphon pisum (Pea Aphid), Macrosiphon rosae (Rose Aphid), and M. euphorbiae (Potato Aphid). I also found an article that mention it feeds on Tetranychus evansi.

  6. Dennis Haines says:

    Note that this species is native to South America. I might assume you got the picture on your recent trip to Argentina! You’re evil Mr. MacRae!

  7. Dennis Haines says:

    If they have the American Soybean Aphid (Aphis glycines) in Argentina it might be useful in control of this invasive species from Asia (not America).

  8. Dave says:

    I’m going to take a wild guess and say the subject (or at least the largest organism) in this photo is a soybean (Order Fabales, Family Fabaceae, Glycine max Linnaeus) and the meal is CO2, water, sunlight, and whatever nutrients the roots pick-up.

    Interesting beetle. Could that be an Eriopis connexa (Germar, 1824) (Coleoptera: Coccinelidae)?

  9. Dave says:

    Oh wait, if you mean the beetle, then I guess Eriopis connexa is probably eating soybean aphids Aphis glycines Matsumura (Homoptera: Aphididae).

  10. I guess we’re looking a at ladybird/ladybug – Coleptera: Coccinellidae.

    Below that, I see that I see Eriopis connexa is a common species in Argentina, and, although google images suggests this species is quite variable, all the photos I’ve seen have that small white spot on the centre of pronotum. So that’s my guess.

    But I’m not sure that can be right, because I guess E. connexa is most likely to be eating boring old pea aphids Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera:Aphididae).

  11. Mike B says:

    Let’s try Coleoptera:Coccinellidae:Coccinellinae Eriopis connexa (Germar, 1824). I know the name should be italicized, but I can’t figure out how to do that. The food is Hemiptera:Aphidoidea:Aphididae:Acyrthosiphon pisum. I am assuming that the subject has something to do with biocontrol of the pea aphid on soybeans.

    • 10 pts for the ID (since you mentioned about the italics I won’t deduct, however they are easy to do – type “<i>” (without the quotes) at the beginning of the word and “</i>” at the end and voila – italics!

  12. Jon Q says:

    a species of Hippodamia

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