08 September 2005

Backyard bugs I: Spotted cucumber beetle

This is the well known Diabrotica undecimpunctata. I photographed it while it was munching on the flowers in my backyard. Its species name, undecimpunctata, meaning "11-spotted", refers to the 11 spots (or 12, depending on how you count the two adjacent uppermost spots) on its elytra (fore wings).

Beetles (Coleoptera) are the most speciose group of insects. In fact, almost 30% of all known animal species are beetles according to this web site. The oldest beetle fossils are about 265 million years old.

More information:

morphology and evolution of beetles

Insect evolution

The fossil record of major insect groups


Art Schmaltz said...

One of my favorite quotes, which I am currently unable to source, and for which I can only find a passing reference in some hoighty-toity article by some sloppy writer who thinks a snide remark about sobriety works as a reference for the quotation to the individual responsible, is... well, wait. The story as I recall is that he was asked near the end of his life if there was some overarching wisdom he had acquired from his extensive explorations of natural history. He said:

‘One thing we can be sure of About God Is that he loves beetles.’

My Bartlett's is unhelpful.


What a coincidence, evolution loves beetles too!

afarensis said...

Great picture! I have added those three links to the links section at Transitions. I have also heard that quote about god and beetles can't remember where though... but yes, I agree, it's evolution that loves beetles!