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COLEOPTERA, Cleridae (Latreille 1804) --  <Images> & <Juveniles>


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Cleridae = Link 2

Description & Statistics


Clerids show exceptional consistency in host preferences, most confining themselves to Scolytoidea and other wood-boring or wood-inhabiting Coleoptera.  They are among the most effective natural controls of these forest pests.  Thaneroclerus girodi Chevr. was considered the most important natural enemy of the cigarette beetle, Lasioderma serricorne F., in the United States (Runner 1919).  The adults prey on adult beetles and the larvae on the eggs and larvae in their burrows.  A number of species of genera Enoclerus, Thanasimus, and Tillus, etc. are important predators.  Trogodendron fasiculatum Schreib. preys on pupae of wood-boring Lepidoptera in Australia.  Cymatodera undulata Say is a predator on the larvae of a cynipoid wasp, Disholcaspis mamma Walsh, and other larvae inhabiting the galls that it produces (Balduf 1926a).  Several species are predators of egg pods of Locustidae.  The genus Necrobia are largely scavengers, but occasionally prey on living insects.  Beeson (1926) reported on a large number of predaceous clerids that are associated with bark and wood borers in India.  Balduf (1935) provided an early summary of their food habits.


Tothill et al. (1930) studied in some detail Callimerus arcufer Chapin, a natural enemy of the coconut moth in Malaya.  An attempt was made to introduce this predator to Fiji for control of a related coconut moth, Levuana iridescens B.B.  It is not restricted to these hosts but feeds generally on soft-bodied insects found on the trees.  The eggs, measuring 1.6 X 0.4 mm., are thickest in the middle region, slightly curved, and yellow in color and are laid underneath host pupae.  A maximum of 203 eggs was obtained from a single female, with the average daily rate of laying not exceeding 1, though at times up to 11 have been secured in one day.  Larvae feed by preference on pupae, while adults prey extensively on larvae.  There are 3 larval instars, though in some cases the 3rd is omitted.  Pupation usually occurs within a cocoon.  The life cycle from egg to adult takes a minimum of ca. 5 weeks, of which incubation of the egg requires 6 days and the larval feeding period ca. 19 days.  The preoviposition period is 16 days or more, and several generations are produced annually.


Tarsostenus univittatus Rossi is predaceous, both as larvae and adults, on powder post beetles of genera Xylobiops and Lyctus infesting seasoned wood products.  The female inserts the extended ovipositor into the gallery entrance and lays one or several eggs therein (St. George 1924).  The eggs are similar to those of the host, being elongate and cylindrical and with the anterior end drawn out into a slender stalk, which are ca. 1/7th the length of the egg (Clausen 1940/62).


Bφving & Champlain (1920) have observed the behavior of several species attacking primary and secondary bark borers.  The eggs are usually laid in the host entrance gallery or in cracks or crevices in the bark.  The life cycle is usually correlated with that of the host, and a 2-yr. cycle is suggested in some species.  Because larvae feed on the immature stages of their host, it is necessary that the cycle almost parallel that of the latter, for the stages suitable for attack are available for only a relatively short time.  Species attacking a 2-brooded host are themselves apt to have 2 generations annually.


Pupation occurs in varied places, some species utilizing the host gallery or pupal cell, while others form a cell in the soil at the base of the tree.  Enoclerus sphegeus F. and other Enoclerus spp. line the cell with a foam-like oral exudation.  Some clerids consistently pupate without forming a cocoon or cell.  Hibernation is not uniform, as larvae, prepupae, pupae and adults of a few species can be found during winter, while larvae or pupae may represent other species only.  Adults are present in the field during midsummer and may remain for several months.


The behavior of Aulicus terrestris Linsley as a predator of the lubber grasshopper, Esselenia vanduzeei Hebard, and various larvae of Lepidoptera in California was studied by Linsley 91936).  Eggs are laid singly under stones or in the soil in the immediate vicinity of the grasshopper egg masses.  Larvae are very active and search in the soil for their food, which seems limited to grasshopper eggs.  The life cycle coincides with that of the host, and adult beetles appear in late spring at the time the adult grasshoppers are active.  However, adults do not prey on any stage of the grasshoppers but subsist instead on various naked larvae of Lepidoptera, in particular those of Noctuidae, found in or on the soil.  This feeding is mostly confined to females, males regularly refusing such food (Clausen 1940/62).


Although most species are predaceous, some may develop at times as external parasitoids.  Such species are principally in the genus Hydnocera.  Hydnocera verticalis Say has been reared from the cocoons of Apanteles.   Hydnocera pubescens Lec. seems to be parasitic on the larva of the cotton boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis Boh., in its cell in the boll, and the parasitoid finally spins its cocoon and pupates in the host cell.


An adult of Isohydnocera curtipennis Newm. was reared by Sabrosky (1934) from a goldenrod gall (produced by the larva of Gnorismoschema).  An examination of the contents of the gall showed the empty shell of the lepidopterous pupa, within which the cast skin of the beetle larva was found.  Development was thought to be at the expense of a single host, but whether internal, as asserted by Sabrosky (1934) or external is uncertain.  Clausen (1940) cited Don Clancy's observations on Hydnocera spp. as enemies of codling moth larvae in their cocoons.  It was indicated that although the larvae are generally predaceous, a true parasitic development was possible.


Species of Trichodes developing on larvae of various bees, are on the borderline between parasitism and predation (Cros 1908, 1911).  Some reach maturity on a single host, others move from cell to cell, devouring several larvae, and they may also consume such of the host food material as may be present.  The eggs may or may not be laid directly in the cell or nest, or they may be laid elsewhere and the young larva searches for the host.  Adults of some species feed mainly on pollen.  Several species are known to attack the larvae of honeybees in the hive, and the genus seems limited to hosts of this type.  The overall habits are close to Meloidae that develop in the cells of bees.


Cleridae are a somewhat large family with more than 3,000 species known as of 2000.  They occur mostly in tropical areas.  Diagnostic characters of these  include an 11-segmented antenna, the apical 3 segments form a loose club; the anterior coxae are large, conical, and the hind coxae are small and oblique.  The tarsal formula is usually 5-5-5.  They are small, hairy, elongated and often brightly colored or with different patterns.


Adults of Cleridae are known as "checkered beetles” due to the color pattern on their back.  Most species of Cleridae are predators as larvae and adults on immature wood boring insects.  Several species are predators of grasshopper eggs.  A few species are primary, solitary, ectoparasitoids.  Some feed on pollen or animal contents in the cells of wasps and bees.  Others feed on stored products of vegetable or animal origin.  In some species the adults are found on flowers where they feed on pollen.  They may be among the most important biotic control agents of wood-boring Coleoptera.


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References:   Please refer to  <biology.ref.htm>, [Additional references may be found at:  MELVYL Library]


Balduf, W. V.  1935.  The Bionomics of Entomophagous Coleoptera.  J. F. Swift Co., NY.  220 p.


Barr, W. F.  1950.  Proc. calif. Acad. Sci., Ser. 4, 24:  485-519.


Bellows, T. S.; Fisher, T. W.; Caltagirone, L. E. 1999. Handbook of biological control. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 429–430. 


Byrd, Jason H. 2001. James L., Castner. ed. Forensic Entomology: The Utility of Arthropods in Legal Investigations 2nd ed.. Boca Raton: CRC Press. 


Costello, S.  2003. "Clerid Beetles- Voracious Predators" PDF. Colorado State University Department of Entomology. pp. 1–15. 


Ebeling, W.  2002. "Chapter 7 Pests of Stored Food Products". Urban Entomology. University of California Riverside. 


Gerstmeier, R.  1998. Checkered Beetles: Illustrated Key to the Cleridae and Thanerocleridae of the Western Palaearctic. Weikersheim, Germany: Margraf Verlag. pp. 12–15. 


Gredilha, R.; Lima, A. F.  2007. "First record of Necrobia rufipes De Geer, 1775 Coleoptera; Cleridae associated with pet food in Brazil" PDF. Brazilian Journal of Biology. 1 67. 


Hue, Yi.  2008. "Life Cycle of Thanasimus formzcarzus Coleoptera: Cleridae in Southern Norway". Insect Science Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences 5 1: 55–62. 


Insects of eastern forests. Misc. Publ. 1426. U.S. Forestry Service. Washington D.C: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 19885. pp. 274–275. 


Johnson, N. F.; Triplehorn, Charles A. 2004. Borror and DeLong's Introduction to the Study of Insects 7th ed.. Belmont: Brooks/Cole. pp. p365–400, 428–429. 


Linsley, E. G. 1936. "Studies in the genus Aulicus Spinola Coleoptera-Cleridae". University of California Publications in Entomology Berkley, California: University of California Press 6 9: 249–262. 


Mahr, Susan M.  2000. "Know Your Friends Checkered Beetles". Biological Control News University of Wisconsin-Madison 7 1. 


Majka, C. 2006. "A guide to the Cleridae of Atlantic Canada". Chebucto Community Net. 03-19. 


Mawdsley, J. R. 2002. "Ecological notes on species of Cleridae Insecta: Coleoptera associated with the prairie flora of central North America". The Great Lakes Entomologist 35 1: 15–22.


McNamara, J.  1991 "Family Cleridae: checkered beetles". In: Bousquet, Y. Ed.. Checklist of the Beetles of Canada and Alaska. Agriculture Canada Publication 1861/E. 208–211.


Papp, C. S.  1960.  Bull. S. Calif. Acad. Sci. 59:  76-88.


Poland, Therese M.; Borden, John H. December 1997. "Attraction of bark beetle predator, Thanasimus undatulus Coleoptera: Cleridae, to pheromones of the spruce beetle and two secondary bark beetles Coleoptera: Scolytidae" PDF. Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 94: 35–41. 


Souza, A. & A.  Linhares.  2008. "Diptera and Coleoptera of potential forensic importance in southeastern Brazil: relative abundance and seasonality". Medical and Veterinary Entomology Royal Entomological Society 11 1: 8–12 


White, R. E.  1998. A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America illustrated and revised ed.. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 208–209