The most common beetle in Argentina

Astylus atromaculatus | Buenos Aires Province, Argentina

I don’t know if this is truly the case, but Astylus atromaculatus (family Melyridae) is one of only a few beetles in the country that actually has two Spanish common names—”astylus moteado” and “siete de oro” (meaning “spotted astylus” and “seven of gold”, both names referring to black splotches on the elytra). It is also the only beetle that I’ve seen everywhere I’ve been in the country—north and south, soybean fields and cornfields, countryside and city. I have yet to visit a soybean field where I don’t see them, perhaps nibbling on a leaf here and there but mostly just mating, and they can be downright overwhelming in cornfields (see this post with photos of the adults dripping from corn tassels, literally!). For all their ubiquity, however, their economic impact seems more nuisance than substantive. Corn breeders complain about interference during tasseling, and larval feeding on seeds during or just after germination seems to be on the rise due to increased use of conservation tillage, but overall this species seems to be more bark than bite.

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.
This entry was posted in Coleoptera, Melyridae and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The most common beetle in Argentina

  1. scrapydo says:

    I know this one! It eats everything green in a garden also even flowers

  2. There’s an inherent poetry in a common name like “seven of gold” that you just don’t get with, say, “brown marmorated stink bug”.

    Maybe English common names should hook up with Romance languages a little more often.

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