The Ant Bag Beetle (Clytra laeviuscula) is a small insect in the Chrysomelidae family of short-horned leaf beetles.
The Ant Bag Beetle has an elongated body with shiny red-orange elytra (wing covers) that have four black spots. It has two larger spots around the centre of the elytra and two smaller spots on its shoulders. It prothorax (head) is black and shiny. Its antennae are short and black. It has six short legs.
It measures about 1 centimetre (a third of an inch).
It is found in most European countries and Near East countries.
The Ant Bag Beetle prefers wet forests, floodplains, sunny forest edges, dry slopes, and dry grasslands. It can also be found in urban parks and gardens.
It is phytophagus, which means that it feeds on plants, such as the leaves and flowers of deciduous trees.
It is called an Ant Bag Beetle because the female wraps each of her eggs with her hind (back) legs into a ball of dung, leaves, and grass near an anthill. The ants take the egg balls into their ant nest. Through a tube, the eggs in the ball feed on the detritus (dead matter) left over by the ants. The eggs become larvae (grubs). The larvae undergo metamorphosis and adult Ant Bag Beetles emerge after about 14 days.
[Location of photographs: Paris, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM