Plant-Insect Interaction: Shining flower beetles on a smooth oxeye

Shining flower beetles (Coleoptera: Phalacridae) on a smooth oxeye (Heliopsis helianthoides, Asteraceae). Photographed 07/15/2012 at Oak Opening Preserve Metropark near Swanton, Ohio.

Adult shining flower beetles (ColeopteraPhalacridae) are tiny dark insects only about 1-3 mm in length. They would be hard to see if not for their tendency to congregate on brightly-colored asters like this smooth oxeye (Heliopsis helianthoides, Asteraceae). They spend most of their time on flowers nibbling away at the pollen these plants create. In contrast their larvae feed on fungus spores, so they’re also known as shining mold beetles.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Plant-Insect Interaction: Shining flower beetles on a smooth oxeye

  1. sandra says:

    We have discovered dozens maybe hundreds of the shining flower beetles in our pumpkin flowers. Where can i find information about the eventual damage they do to the pumpkin and where do they find the mold they consume, could it be near a house or is it normally in plants and compost piles?

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  2. Jeremy Sell says:

    I wouldn’t expect most shining flower beetles to be capable of injuring plants. As for the specific fungi they consume, this doesn’t seem to have been well-studied yet.

    According to BugGuide: “where known, both adults and larvae in most cases feed on spores or hyphae of fungi [incl. ascomycetes, Claviceps (ergot), smut/rust fungi (Ustilaginales, Pucciniales)]; Olibrus larvae feed on fluid material within flower heads of Asteraceae, but are pollen feeders as adults(1)”

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