15 May 2012

Calligrapha multipunctata

Calligrapha multipunctata. If that's not one of the coolest Latin binomials there is, then I'm no judge of cool. (Okay, probably I'm not much of a judge of cool, anyway, but never mind.)

Anyway. I came across this little fellow (or lass) on the way back from the mailbox. I might never have spotted him if he hand't been on his back, flashing his quite reddish wings in order to right himself. Against the beige and grey of the gravel road, he stood out quite a lot. He's just under a centimetre long--maybe 7 or 8mm.

I'm not absolutely certain of the species identification, since I didn't find him on his host plant. It could also be C. philadelphica, which is very similar. Most of this genera is very closely associated with a plant species--willow in the case of C. multipunctata, dogwood for C. philadelphica. Of course, I could go back down the road and do a survey of trees. I'm pretty sure there are willows nearby, and not so sure about dogwood.

At first I thought I was looking at a non-red species of ladybird, but the fabulous online Bug Guide set me straight. Still, identifying insects is hard, even when it seems to be something pretty different, though I guess you get better once you know what to look for.

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