Random Insect: Tumbling flower beetle

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Tumbling flower beetle (Coleoptera: Mordellidae) on an aster. Photographed 07/03/2013 near Palmyra, Michigan.

With their long legs and humpbacked, wedge-shaped bodies, tumbling flower beetles (Coleoptera: Mordellidae) look somewhat like large fleas. While the larvae usually live in decaying wood, the adults are often found on flowers where they feed on pollen.

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Tumbling flower beetle (Coleoptera: Mordellidae) on an aster. Photographed 07/03/2013 near Palmyra, Michigan.

Adult beetles are natural acrobats and use their powerful hind legs to escape predators. When threatened they jump and roll to safety. I came across a number of these beetles and every time I got a little too close to one it invariably tumbled away in this manner.

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Tumbling flower beetle (Coleoptera: Mordellidae) on an aster. Photographed 07/03/2013 near Palmyra, Michigan.

Tumbling flower beetles can be identified in part thanks to their pointed abdomens that extend beyond their wings. Because of this feature you may also see them referred to as “pintails.”

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Ecology, Entomology, Random Insect and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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