Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Large orange beetle

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I saw this beetle in my garden today (see pic). It was about 1cm long and looked like a huge orange ladybug. It is orange with black spots and a shiny all black head. I saw it on the leaf and stem of a cone flower in southeast Wisconsin (just northwest of Milwaukee). There was only the one beetle that I saw. Do you know what it is?

Answer
Hi, Kathy:

Thanks for including the images, but your description alone was good enough to lead me to the same conclusion as the pictures....

The beetle is the Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle, Labidomera clivicollis .  Here's more about this common insect:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/2970

It is also included in our Kaufman Field Guide, page 160 :-)

I don't think I have ever found more than one on any occasion, either, which seems unusual for leaf beetles.  Most Chrysomelids "flock" together by the dozens or even hundreds on a host plant.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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