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Checkered Beetle genus Aphelochroa Quedenfeldt contains seven species which are widely distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa (Mawdsley 1994). This genus was revised by Mawdsley (1994) based on specimens from major museum collections in Europe and USA.
The name â€ścheckered beetleâ€ť refers to the conspicuous colorful bands across the back of the adults. Their rounded bodies are often covered with dense, short hairs (pubescence). Common species are between ÂĽ and Â˝ inch long. There are about 250 described species in the U.S. and 2500 for the whole world. The adults are fairly long-lived and can be seen for several months during the summer.
The majority of species are predaceous on wood-boring or wood-inhabiting beetles, especially bark beetles, and are very important natural controls of these forest pests. Adult clerid beetles feed on the adult wood-borers, while the larvae prey on the immature stages, including the eggs. Other species feed on grasshopper egg pods, a few have been reported as predators of gall insects, and one genus, Necrobia, has departed from the typical food habit of the family and are primarily scavengers
Life Cycle : The majority of species are predaceous on wood-boring or wood-inhabiting beetles, especially bark beetles, and are very important natural controls of these forest pests. Adult clerid beetles feed on the adult wood-borers, while the larvae prey on the immature stages, including the eggs. Other species feed on grasshopper egg pods, a few have been reported as predators of gall insects, and one genus, Necrobia, has departed from the typical food habit of the family and are primarily scavengers.
Female beetles lay eggs on wood-borer-infested trees. The eggs are usually placed in the host entrance gallery or in cracks or crevices in the bark. The red or yellow, flat or rounded larvae that hatch from the eggs are covered with hairs and have horny projections on top of one body segment. The larvae search for prey in wood-boring insect tunnels, but they, too, can bore through dead wood themselves if necessary.
After they have completed their larval development many species move to the base of the tree to pupate in earthen cells, created from soil and secretions from glands inside their mouths. Others remain in their hostsâ€™ gallery or pupal cell. Development may take more than a year, or there may be one or more generations per year, depending on the life cycle of their prey. Depending on the species, the beetle may overwinter as adults, larvae or pupae
Checkered Beetle larvae
Checkered beetles have been reported as important predators of many wood-boring beetles, including Asian longhorned beetle, various species of bark beetles, and other forest pests. The native clerid T. dubius will attack several species of bark beetle besides SPB, including larvae of pine shoot beetle, an introduced bark beetle, in brood logs. It has been shown to be an important predator of the pine engraver, Ips pini, in the upper Midwest.
Predation by this beetle on SPB is most effective in the spring, when overwintering populations of SPB are emerging to begin the first breeding cycle of the season. However, the clerid does not reproduce as rapidly as its host (completing only 2.5 to 4 generations/year, while the SPB goes through 6 to 8 generations/year) so it is probably incapable of preventing epidemics. It can, however, contribute to bark beetle population declines.
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