Coccinella transversoguttata

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Geographic Range

Coccinella transversoguttata is native to North America, with populations in western Canada, western United States, and into Mexico. They can now also be found in Europe, Asia (excluding China), and Central America. Historically, Coccinella transversoguttata covered much of the eastern United States and Canada, but invasive Coccinellidae species have significantly depleted populations. (Alyokhin, et al., 2008; Day and Tatman, 2006; Hesler, et al., 2009; Obrycki and Tauber, 1981; Turnock, et al., 2003)

Habitat

Coccinella transversoguttata lives in open areas, such as old fields, agricultural fields, meadows, and marshes, where it feeds on pest herbivores. It is often found on woody plants, crops, and other flowering plants. (Colunga-Garcia, et al., 1997)

Physical Description

Coccinella transversoguttata is a medium-sized, round, slightly oval beetle, measuring 5 to 7.8 mm in length. It has a red or orange body and black markings. The markings on the elytra include a solid black band behind the pronotum with two elongated black markings nearer the end of the body on each side of the elytra. The pronotum is black with white markings on either side. The head is generally black with two white spots. Antennae are quite short and have a loose club of approximately 3 to 6 segments.

Eggs are small (approximately 1.0 mm) and generally yellow.

The larval form of Coccinella transversoguttata is black and elongate, with many segments. There are several orange spots on the dorsal-lateral area of the abdomen. There are small spines (scoli) running down the length of the body. (Gordon and Vandenberg, 1995; Gordon, 1985; Hagan, 1962; Hesler, et al., 2009; Obrycki and Tauber, 1981)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike
  • Range length
    5 to 7.8 mm
    0.20 to 0.31 in

Development

Coccinella transversoguttata is a holometabolous species. Eggs are laid in early spring, when average temperatures reach 12°C. C. transversoguttata develops through four larval instars, pupates, and then emerges as an adult. Adults diapause over winter and then come out in early spring to mate and oviposit. There is no information regarding the length of time it takes to develop from egg to adulthood. Development and growth of C. transversoguttata is highly effected by prey availability, as well as temperature. (Obrycki and Tauber, 1981; Storch, 1976; Yasuda, et al., 2004)

Reproduction

Coccinella transversoguttata often secretes pheromones to attract mates and at close distances may use sight. Reproduction is sexual, with internal fertilization. This species is polygyandrous; both males and females will readily mate with many individuals. After mating, males do not exhibit any apparent defense mechanisms to ensure the female's eggs are fertilized. (Gordon and Vandenberg, 1995; Kajita and Evans, 2009; Kajita, 2008; Kajita, et al., 2009; Obrycki and Tauber, 1981)

Coccinella transversoguttata has no apparent reproductive behaviors that differ from other general Coccinellidae species. Eggs are laid in egg masses, which normally contain approximately 20 to 30 eggs. C. transversoguttata will usually lay multiple egg masses per season, sometimes laying upwards of 1000 eggs. It will often lay the egg masses near aphid populations so that the larvae can feed once they emerge. This species breeds consistently throughout the spring and summer. There are typically two generations of C. transversoguttata each year. (Evans, 2003; Gordon and Vandenberg, 1995; Kajita, 2008; Kajita, et al., 2009; Michaud, 2000; Obrycki and Tauber, 1981; Yasuda, et al., 2004)

  • Breeding interval
    Coccinella transversoguttata can breed continuously throughout the spring and summer months.
  • Breeding season
    After temperatures exceed 12°C, this species can mate indeterminately until temperatures cool again in autumn.
  • Range eggs per season
    20 to 1000+

Most coccinellids do not engage in parental care beyond the female providing nutrients within the eggs, which is likely true with this species. Additionally, C. transversoguttata will lay egg masses near aphid populations, providing the larvae with a food source once they hatch. (Banks, 1957; Gordon, 1985; Hagan, 1962; Hodek, 1996)

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female

Lifespan/Longevity

No studies have been conducted regarding the lifespans of Coccinella transversoguttata specifically, but like most Coccinelidae species, this species is a bivoltine organism, with two generations per year that may overlap slightly. In most cases, individuals will live only one season. The last generation will diapause over the winter. (Gordon, 1985)

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    30 to 90 days

Behavior

Coccinella transversoguttata is a solitary species, only congregating with other individuals during mating. It is a mobile predator that is mainly active during the day. This species often flies from plant to plant to find prey species. It will diapause in the winter. Like other Coccinellidae, studies have indicated that light is a major cue for diapause for C. transversoguttata. Studies on other Coccinellidae species show that the main cue for diapause occurs once daylight hours drop below 10 to 13 hours per day, and this is likely true for C. transversoguttata as well. (Biddinger, et al., 2009; Dixon, 2005; Gordon, 1985; Sloggett and Majerus, 2000; Storch, 1976)

Home Range

Coccinella transversoguttata does not exhibit territorial behavior, moving freely throughout its habitat. There is little information available on the size of its range. (Dixon, 2005; Gordon, 1985; Sloggett and Majerus, 2000)

Communication and Perception

Coccinella transversoguttata finds mates through the release of pheromones. Sight is likely also used to identify mates and other individuals. Prey detection is generally accomplished via sight or olfaction. Chemoreception is also used by both adults and juvenile individuals for finding prey. Adults tend to use their antennae as sensory instruments, like many insects. For larvae, touch is another important way to find prey, which they often accomplish using prolegs and the head/mouthparts. (Gordon, 1985; Storch, 1976)

Food Habits

Coccinella transversoguttata feeds almost entirely on aphids and will occasionally feed on scale insects. (Adriano, et al., 2009; Campbell and Cone, 1999; Davidson and Evans, 2010; Dixon, 2005; Obrycki, et al., 2009; Sloggett and Majerus, 2000)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects

Predation

Invasive Coccinellidae species, such as Harmonia axyridis and Coccinella septempunctata, are often predators of C. transversoguttata, especially during immature stages. To defend itself, C. transversoguttata can reflex bleed when agitated, releasing toxic chemicals from its tarsi that deter predation. Their red or orange coloration functions as an aposematic mechanism against predation. (Gordon, 1985; Riddick, et al., 2009; Yasuda, et al., 2004; de Jong, et al., 1991)

Ecosystem Roles

Coccinella transversoguttata is historically a notable predator in its native range, as it mainly feeds on aphids that consume various plant species. It has the potential to control the size of an aphid population. This role is becoming diminished as invasive species, such as Harmonia axyridis and Coccinella septempunctata out-compete this species for resources. Harmonia axyridis and Coccinella septempunctata have also been known to prey on all life stages of C. transversoguttata. C. transversoguttata also plays host to several different parasites. Ectoparasitic fungi and ectoparasitic mites have been found on Coccinellids throughout the world. Mites of the genus Coccipolipus have also been found on the species. Male-killing bacterial agents including Rickettsia, Spiroplasma, Wolbachia, Flavobacteria, and γ-proteobacterium have been found on Coccinellidae species. The braconid wasp Dinocampus coccinellae is a major parasitoid on C. transversoguttata. The Tachinidae fly Strongygaster triangulifer may also be a parasitoid of this species. (Gordon, 1985; Hagan, 1962; Riddick, et al., 2009; Sloggett and Majerus, 2000)

Commensal/Parasitic Species

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Coccinella transversoguttata is a noted predator in agricultural fields. Because they often prey on agricultural pest species, particularly aphids, they have benefit to the agriculture industry as a biological control agent. (Dixon, 2005; Obrycki and Kring, 1998; Obrycki, et al., 2009; Sloggett and Majerus, 2000)

  • Positive Impacts
  • controls pest population

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse affects of Coccinella transversoguttata on humans.

Conservation Status

Coccinella transversoguttata has no special conservation status. However, due to the introduction of various Asian lady beetle species, the population of C. transversoguttata has declined rapidly; if this continues, conservation will likely be necessary. (Gordon, 1985; Hesler, et al., 2009; Turnock, et al., 2003; Yasuda, et al., 2004)

Contributors

Dylan Graves (author), University of Michigan Biological Station, Angela Miner (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff, Brian Scholtens (editor), University of Michigan Biological Station.

Glossary

Nearctic

living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

Neotropical

living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

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Palearctic

living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

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agricultural

living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

aposematic

having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

carnivore

an animal that mainly eats meat

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

diapause

a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.

diurnal
  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
ectothermic

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

heterothermic

having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.

hibernation

the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.

insectivore

An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body

introduced

referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.

iteroparous

offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).

marsh

marshes are wetland areas often dominated by grasses and reeds.

metamorphosis

A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

oriental

found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

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oviparous

reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

pheromones

chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species

poisonous

an animal which has a substance capable of killing, injuring, or impairing other animals through its chemical action (for example, the skin of poison dart frogs).

polygynandrous

the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

solitary

lives alone

suburban

living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.

tactile

uses touch to communicate

temperate

that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).

terrestrial

Living on the ground.

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

visual

uses sight to communicate

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