tumbling flower beetle

(Mordellina pustulata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

Alfredo Colon

 

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

 

Flight/Season

February to September

Habitat

 

Size

Body Length (not including anal style): 1 16 to (2 to 4 mm)

Total Length: to ¼ (2.5 to 5.5 mm)

          Photo by Alfredo Colon
 
Identification

Mordellina pustulata is a small tumbling flower beetle. It occurs in southern Canada and in northwestern and eastern North America.

The body is 1 16 to (2 to 4 mm) long, more or less wedge-shaped, and broadest in front when viewed from above. When viewed from the side it is convex overall and strongly arched in front, making it appear humpbacked.

The head is black, short, and bent downward. It is attached at the bottom to the body. There are two large compound eyes and no simple eyes (ocelli). The mouthparts are directed downward. The antennae have 11 segments. On the male the antennae are long and thread-like. On the female they are shorter and somewhat sawtoothed (sub-serrate). They are black except for the first three or four segments, which are reddish-brown.

The exoskeletal plate covering the thorax (pronotum) is black, a little wider than long, and narrowed toward the head. It is as wide at the base as the base of the hardened wing covers (elytra).

The abdomen is long and narrow. The last abdominal is extended into a long, slender, pointed style at the end and is not completely covered by the elytra. The elytra are black with numerous, small, silvery spots that sometimes coalesce into narrow broken bands. The head is minutely punctured (pitted), the pronotum finely punctured, and the elytra coarsely punctured.

The front legs are pale reddish-brown. The rear legs are longer and stouter than the front and middle legs. On the front and middle legs the last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has 5 segments. On the hind legs the tarsus has only 4 segments.

 
Similar
Species

 

 
Larval Food

 

 
Adult Food

 

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

When threatened, the beetle will kick its hind legs rapidly and repeatedly, causing it to bounce or tumble unpredictably.

 
Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 27, 29, 30.

 
Comments

No Common Name
This species has no common name. The common name for the family is tumbling flower beetles, and is applied here for the sake of convenience.

 
Taxonomy

Order:

Coleoptera (beetles)

 

Suborder:

Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf and snout beetles)

 

Infraorder:

Cucujiformia

 

Superfamily:

Tenebrionoidea (Fungus, Bark, Darkling and Blister Beetles)

 

Family:

Mordellidae (tumbling flower beetles)

 

Subfamily:

Mordellinae

 

Tribe:

Mordellistenini

 
Synonyms

Mordellistena pustulata

 
Common
Names

no common name

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Elytra

The hardened forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs. Singular: elytrum.

 

Ocellus

Simple eye; an eye with a single lens. Plural: ocelli.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  tumbling flower beetle (Mordellina pustulata)    
       
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  tumbling flower beetle (Mordellina pustulata)
Bill Keim
 
  tumbling flower beetle (Mordellina pustulata)  

 

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Alfredo Colon
8/20/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

tumbling flower beetle (Mordellina pustulata)


     
     
 
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Created: 7/5/2019

Last Updated:

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