Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods) ➔ Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods) ➔ Class Insecta (Insects) ➔ Order Coleoptera (Beetles) ➔ Family Chrysomelidae (Leaf beetles)

Clytra (Clytra) laeviuscula Ratzeburg, 1837

Ameisensackkäfer Ant Bag Beetle

Synonyms:

Clythra fasciata Ratzeburg, 1837 | Clytra connexa Fricken, 1888 |

  • Clytra laeviuscula  3106
    Clytra laeviuscula Ratzeburg, 1837  Ameisensackkäfer  Ant Bag Beetle 
    Clytra laeviuscula
    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald; 2005-07-17 11:46:42
    Image number: 3106

    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald
    2005-07-17 11:46:42

  • Clytra laeviuscula  3107
    Clytra laeviuscula Ratzeburg, 1837  Ameisensackkäfer  Ant Bag Beetle 
    Clytra laeviuscula
    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald; 2005-07-17 11:49:15
    Image number: 3107

    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald
    2005-07-17 11:49:15

  • Clytra laeviuscula  3108
    Clytra laeviuscula Ratzeburg, 1837  Ameisensackkäfer  Ant Bag Beetle 
    Clytra laeviuscula
    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald; 2005-07-17 11:46:33
    Image number: 3108

    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald
    2005-07-17 11:46:33

  • Clytra laeviuscula  3095
    Clytra laeviuscula Ratzeburg, 1837  Ameisensackkäfer  Ant Bag Beetle 
    Clytra laeviuscula
    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald; 2006-07-09 13:18:56
    Image number: 3095

    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald
    2006-07-09 13:18:56

  • Clytra laeviuscula  3094
    Clytra laeviuscula Ratzeburg, 1837  Ameisensackkäfer  Ant Bag Beetle 
    Clytra laeviuscula
    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald; 2006-06-25 10:04:03
    Image number: 3094

    DE, Chemnitz, Zeisigwald
    2006-06-25 10:04:03

  • Clytra laeviuscula  8795
    Clytra laeviuscula Ratzeburg, 1837  Ameisensackkäfer  Ant Bag Beetle 
    Clytra laeviuscula; conf. Christoph Benisch
    DE, Chemnitz, Hutholz; 2019-06-23 11:31:23
    Image number: 8795

    DE, Chemnitz, Hutholz
    2019-06-23 11:31:23
    conf. Christoph Benisch
  • Clytra laeviuscula  8796
    Clytra laeviuscula Ratzeburg, 1837  Ameisensackkäfer  Ant Bag Beetle 
    Clytra laeviuscula
    DE, Chemnitz, Hutholz; 2019-06-23 11:54:12
    Image number: 8796

    DE, Chemnitz, Hutholz
    2019-06-23 11:54:12


Classification:
Clytra laeviuscula belongs to the subfamily Cryptocephalinae, tribe Clytrini.
Distribution:
Western Palearctic from Western Europe east to Siberia, Xinjiang and Afghanistan.
Habitat:
Clytra laeviuscula is a warmth-loving species occurring in different habitats where ant species suitable as hosts for larvae can be found.
Description:
Length 7.0 - 11.5 mm; elytra orange-yellow to orange-red with black spots; transverse spots broad, very little shortened on the inside and outside (In aberrations the posterior transverse spot may be absent, divided or the spots may merge to form a transverse band.); pronotum black, cylindrical, almost smooth with very narrow, channel-shaped lateral margin.
Biology:
Ant Bag Beetles can be found outdoors from May to August.
The polyphagous adults feed on flower pollens and leaves of deciduous trees and shrubs from different plant families, e.g. willow (Salix, Salicaceae), birch (Betula, Betulaceae), ash (Fraximus, Oleaceae), blackthorn (Prunus, Rosaceae) or hawthorn (Crataegus, Rosaceae).
The eggs are surrounded by the females of Clytra laeviuscula with a protective faeces case and laid on an anthill. Known hosts of the larvae are ant species of the genera Formica, Lasius and Camponotus, rarely also Aphaenogaster.
The scaly looking egg cases are carried into the nest by the ants. The larvae can also crawl alone into the ants' nest. The egg cases are later extended by the larvae with faeces to the larval bag. If the larvae are attacked by the ants, they can quickly retreat into the larval bag and close it with their horny head plate.
Little is known about the life of the larvae. The larvae are apparently herbivorous and carnivorous. They live from food leftovers of the host ants, prey and have also eaten parts of leaves in the laboratory. They can survive for several weeks without food.
During the moulting they attach their bag to a stable base. The pupation takes place in the upper part of the anthill. The larvae turn around in the larval bag to pupate. After the pupal period, the adults remain in the protective larval bag for another 3 days to harden and leave it through a gnawed, circular opening opposite the original entrance.
After hatching, the beetles immediately go outside to escape the ants' attacks. If the beetles are attacked by ants, they pretend to be dead. They can also shed a secretion when threatened (reflex bleeding). Their smooth chitin shell offers protection against ant bites.

References, further reading, links:
  1. Rheinheimer, Joachim, & Hassler, Michael: Die Blattkäfer Baden-Württembergs, 2018, 928 pages, Kleinsteuber Books (Karlsruhe), ISBN 978-3-9818110-2-5
  2. Arved Lompe: Die Käfer Europas - Ein Bestimmungswerk im Internet
  3. Agrain FA, Buffington ML, Chaboo CS, Chamorro ML, Schöller M: Leaf beetles are ant-nest beetles: the curious life of the juvenile stages of case-bearers (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Cryptocephalinae). In: Jolivet P, Santiago-Blay J, Schmitt M (Eds) Research on Chrysomelidae 5. ZooKeys 2015 (547): 133–164. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.547.6098