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Tumbling Flower Beetle

5 Nov
Tumbling flower beetle on daisy (Mordellidae)

Tumbling flower beetle on daisy (Welder Wildlife Refuge, Texas).

This little beetle is a tumbling flower beetle, a member of the family Mordellidae.  Although small and easily overlooked, tumbling flower beetles can be identified relatively easily by their characteristic wedged body shape, with a humped back and pointy abdomen which extends beyond the wing case.  They are frequently black, but may also have colorful patterning.  As their name would suggest, tumbling flower beetles are generally found on flowers on which they feed as adults, although a few species also bore in dead wood.  They take their common name from their defensive behaviors.   Like many insects, when disturbed they will frequently drop from their plant perch to the ground, a maneuver which helps them avoid predators and entomologists with cameras.  They will also ‘tumble’ and gyrate about when cornered.