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What Is This #AZCritter? Leaf Beetle Larvae
What Is This #AZCritter? is a new digital series from the Arizona Science Desk that wants to help you identify and learn more about interesting Arizona animals.
Have you ever seen a strange critter in Arizona you couldn’t identify? Submit it to science.kjzz.org/azcritter.
If your photo gets chosen, you’ll get a free Arizona Science Desk keychain!
What Is This #AZCritter?
Jason McVay found these hanging upside down in Flagstaff.
What Is It?
“These are immature Chrysomelids, commonly known as leaf beetles of some kind,” said Dawn H. Gouge, an urban entomologist at the University of Arizona. “With more than 37,000 species in this family, I cannot be more specific than that."
“This is one of the largest and most commonly encountered of all beetle families,” she said.
Gouge enlisted the help of retired entomologist Carl “Bugman” Olson, who admitted only seeing bark when he first tried to identify the critter.
On further inspection, Olson agreed they are Gibber californicus turning from larvae to pupae.
Where Do They Live?
“All species are herbivores, so they are closely associated with plants. The adult beetles are really beautiful ranging in colors and size and the immature stages appear quite startling, like wee little aliens,” Gouge said.
Are They Dangerous?
“Only if you are a plant,” said Gouge.