Coleoptera (Beetles)

CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Groundselbush Beetle Larvae (caterpillar) (Trirhabda bacharidis)

Larval host: Saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia).  Helps keep the somewhat aggressive native shrub in check.

Not the most attractive as adult beetles, but this larvae certainly is eyecatching. I have watched wasps zero in on this important resource to gather as a host for their eggs and to provide food for their own larvae.


Imported to Australia where Baccharis sp. is invasive.

Shown on Florida Native Plant GROUNDSEL TREE; SEA MYRTLE (Baccharis halimifolia), a.k.a. Saltbush



CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Spotless Lady Beetle (Cycloneda sanguinea) larvae NEWLY HATCHED

This species of ladybug is native to Florida.
Diet: aphids. The larval stage may be even more beneficial than as adults since the larvae have voracious appetites. If you wash your aphids off your ornamental plants, you remove the food source for the beneficial so they will go elsewhere to reproduce. Be patient.

Keep in mind that Not all ladybugs without spots are native. Harmonia is an introduced species which can outcompete our natives, especially the species in the photo. (source:

If you buy ladybugs, check what species you are introducing. Many sold commercially are non-native species.


Shown on Florida Native Plant: PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa)

a.k.a. Blood-Red Ladybird Beetle

Photos of adult:

My take: There are Different Types of Ladybugs? (includes side by side photos to tell the exotic from our native species)

Walking away to find the aphids on nearby branches


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Margined Leatherwing Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus marginatus)

Soldier Beetles feed on pollen and nectar. Adult is also predatory, and may eat small insects such  as aphids

Larva is predatory, known to attack corn earworm and corn borer.


Learn more, including lifecycle:

Shown on Florida Native Plant: PINEBARREN GOLDENROD (Solidago fistulosa) 

My take:


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Earth-Boring Scarab Beetle (Geotrupes sp.)

New to my buggy life list.

3 species listed for Florida:  G. blackburnii blackburnii; G. egeriei; G. splendidus (source:

“Adults feed on dung, fungi, and decaying vegetable matter. Larva feed on old cow dung.”


Earth-Boring Scarab Beetle (Geotrupes sp.)


CENTRAL FLORIDA CRITTER OF THE DAY: Masked Chafer Beetle (Cyclocephala sp.)

Adults nocturnal, come to lights. Larvae feed on roots. This one was in the clutches of a tiny spider under the patio light.

Family Scarabaeidae – Scarab Beetles
Subfamily Dynastinae – Rhinoceros Beetles
Tribe Cyclocephalini
Genus Cyclocephala – Masked Chafers


Learn more:



Hard to get this genus down to species. There is one that is called a primose beetle, so it *may* be A.litigata although most I see are a vivid metallic blue and not this beautiful bronze color.


Shown on Florida Native Plant: MEXICAN PRIMROSEWILLOW (Ludwigia octovalvis)

Feeds on ludwigia sp. keeping this prolific native in check.

May feed on crepe myrtle and if that concerns you the best method to control is to hand pick and squish. (