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Eurasian red-and-black melyrid

Common name: No official common name; Eurasian red-and-black melyrid is suggested.
Scientific name: Anthocomus equestris (Fabricius 1781). Formerly referred to as Anthocomus bipunctatus (Harrer 1784)
Order: Coleoptera (beetles)
Family: Melyridae (soft-winged flower beetles)

Summary
The Eurasian red-and-black melyrid (Figures 1, 2) is occasionally found in homes. It is not a threat to human health or structures, so is a nuisance only because of its presence.

Figures 1 & 2

Figure 1. (left) Anthocomus equestris, male. Photo by Udo Schmidt, used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license via Wikimedia Commons.

Figure 2. (Right) Anthocomus equestris, female. Photo by gbohne, used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license via Wikimedia Commons.


Description
Head and pronotum (first segment of thorax) dark metallic green, may appear black under certain light and angles. Elytra (hard wing covers) red with a two black patches at base and a 2/3 distance from base. The apical red area may be more orange and the apical black spot extends laterally and may or may not reach the edge of the elytra.  Legs orange to dark orange to light brown; basal segments may be nearly brown to black.

Distribution
Introduced from Europe, first recorded in the United States in 1944 from New Jersey and Virginia (French 1944). Apparently widespread in North America east of the Rocky Mountains. Records from Ontario and Maine south through Georgia, west to Missouri, Kansas, and Utah (Salt Lake City) (Bright 1991, Bugguide 2018).

Life history and behavior
Adults feed at flowers of herbaceous plants. The feeding habits of larvae are apparently undocumented, although larvae of related species are predatory. It has been suggested A. equestris may feed on pestiferous insects and that that the presence of adults indicate an underlying, undetected pest problems (e.g., silverfish) (French 1944).

Threat to human health
None.

Control
Beetles are rarely abundant in homes and generally do not warrant control beyond eliminating individuals when they are seen. Adult beetles can be picked up and placed outside, or crushed with toilet paper and flushed.

Authored by Michael Skvarla, Insect Identification Laboratory Director & Extension Educator, March 2018.

References

  1. Bright, D. E. 1991. Family Melyridae, soft-winged flower beetles.  In: Bousquet, Y. (Ed.) Checklist of Beetles of Canada and Alaska . Research Branch, Agriculture Canada. Publication 1861/E, pp. 211–213.
  2. BugGuide. 2018. Anthocomus equestris data map. Available online
  3. French, G. T. 1944. Anthocomus bipunctatus (Harrer), a new household insect. Journal of Economic Entomology 37: 103.

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