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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Black Ladybug w/ white linings

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Question
First pic
First pic  

Red wings
Red wings  
Hello, I would like to get this guy identified. I live in NM, I was hanging outside with my girlfriend when he landed on her car. What bug is this, I've googled his description and cannot find another beetle with markings like this! He may just be the common beetle with awesome marks, please help.

Answer
Dear Julian - This is a leaf beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in the genus Zygogramma, it may be Zygogramma tortuosa - see http://tinyurl.com/kson79p for an image. These beetles feed primarily on members of the aster family as well as ragweed. They do not appear to be pests, and some species have been enlisted as potential biocontrol agents for invasive plants - see http://tinyurl.comntcxxmz for an example.

Hope this helps,
Saugy

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Ed Saugstad

Expertise

Will accept most questions in general entomology, including those related to medical entomology, taxonomy, ecology, arthropod surveillance, and pest management. If you are requesting a 'mystery bug' identification, PLEASE either attach an image to your question, or post an image on a web page (such as Flickr) so that I can look at it, as verbal descriptions frequently are insufficient for a definitive identification.

Experience

21 years in the U.S. Army as a medical entomologist; duties varied from surveillance of pest populations (including mosquitoes, cockroaches, ticks, and stored products pests) to conducting research on mosquito-virus ecological relationships and mosquito faunal studies. Ten years as a civilian analyst for the Department of Defense, primarily on distribution of vector-borne diseases worldwide. Limited experience on surveillance of agricultural insects in North Dakota and Indiana.

Organizations
Entomological Society of America, West Virginia Entomological Society, Society for Vector Ecology, National Speleological Society, West Virginia Association for Cave Studies.

Publications
American Journal of Public Health, Contributions of the American Entomological Institute, Japanese Journal of Sanitary Zoology, Journal of Economic Entomology, Mosquito News, and Mosquito Systematics.

Education/Credentials
B.S. in entomology from North Dakota State University in 1963, M.S. in entomology from Purdue University in 1967.

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