Texas Beetle Resources

Return to Texas Entomology - Compiled by Mike Quinn

North American Cryptocephalus species

(Chrysomelidae, Cryptocephalinae)

Arranged by Species Groups with Comments by White (1968)

Cryptocephalus specimens photographed from the Edward G. Riley Collection (EGRC).
All images posted to BugGuide.Net

 Also Griburius and Bassareus images are appended below

Basalis group: basalis Suffrian, binominis Newman, lunatus R. White (not shown), mucoreus LeConte, multisignatus Schaeffer, notatus F., pinicolus Schaeffer, pubicollis Linell, pubiventris Schaeffer, quadruplex Newman.
   Cryptocephalus binominis Newman - Cryptocephalus binominis Cryptocephalus quadruplex Newman - Cryptocephalus quadruplex Cryptocephalus notatus Fabricius - Cryptocephalus notatus=Cryptocephalus notatus Fabricius  - Cryptocephalus notatus
 Western-only distributed species:
Cryptocephalus pinicolus Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus pinicolus=Cryptocephalus pinicolus Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus pinicola Cryptocephalus pubiventris Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus pubiventris=Cryptocephalus notatus (?)  on Life Oak - Cryptocephalus pubiventris Cryptocephalus multisignatus Schaeffer  - Cryptocephalus multisignatus
Only three N. Amer. species have dorsal pubescence:
Cryptocephalus basalis Suffrian  - Cryptocephalus basalis Cryptocephalus mucoreus J. L. LeConte  - Cryptocephalus mucoreus Cryptocephalinae - Cryptocephalus pubicollis

Head, pronotum, ventral surface, and appendages black or very dark; each elytron black with basal and apical spots red to orange, sometimes both joining at side, or sometimes with apical spot absent, infrequently with elytra entirely red to orange.

I regard this as the most primitive group of species of North American Cryptocephalus.

Quercus group: astralosus R. White (not shown), atrofasciatus Jacoby, quercus Schaeffer, umbonatus Schaeffer, vapidus R. White.
Cryptocephalus atrofasciatus Jacoby - Cryptocephalus atrofasciatus Cryptocephalus quercus Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus quercus Cryptocephalus umbonatus Schaeffer  - Cryptocephalus umbonatus Cryptocephalus vapidus R. White - Cryptocephalus vapidus

(All southwestern species)

Basic elytral pattern of dark markings of two or three transverse, undulate bands, sometimes absent or expanded; anterior margin of presternum of both sexes produced into a broad lobe (sometimes pointed in male).

Badius group: badius Suffrian, cowa  niae Schaeffer (not shown), contextus R. White (not shown), incertus Olivier, triundulatus R. White.

Coleoptera - Cryptocephalus badius=Cryptocephalus badius Suffrian - Cryptocephalus badius Cryptocephalus incertus Cryptocephalus triundulatus R. White - Cryptocephalus triundulatus=Cryptocephalus triundulatus

(badius and incertus are eastern spp.; contextus, cowaniae, and triundulatus are southwestern spp.)

Basic elytral pattern like that of triundulatus or badius, often somewhat expanded or reduced; pronotum predominantly dark, nearly always with lateral and apical margins yellowish, usually with two yellowish, oblique basal spots.

The elytral pattern of this group appears to me to have been pivotal in the development of the patterns of other groups of species.

Guttulatus group: guttulatellus Schaeffer, guttulatus Olivier.

= / Cryptocephalus guttulatus Olivier - Cryptocephalus guttulatus=Cryptocephalus guttulatus Olivier - Cryptocephalus guttulatus 
(guttulatellus - south Texas only)

Each elytron with seven light (usually yellowish) spots on a darker background, spots subequal in size and generally separated by their diameters or less, number of complete spots from base to apex is 2-2-2-1 (also a partial spot present anteriorly at side). 

The pattern of this group is, I believe, clearly a modification of that of the preceding group.

Cupressi group: binotatus R. White, bivius Newman, castaneus LeConte, cupressi Schaeffer, disruptus R. White (not shown), duryi Schaeffer, optimus Schöller, leucomelas Suffrian, maccus R. White, pseudomaccus R. White, texanus Schaeffer, virginiensis R. White (not shown).

Cryptocephalus bivius Newman  - Cryptocephalus bivius=Cryptocephalus bivius Cryptocephalus castaneus? - Cryptocephalus castaneus=ID for a colorful beetle? - Cryptocephalus castaneus Cryptocephalus cupressi Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus cupressi  Cryptocephalus optimus Schöller - Cryptocephalus optimus Cryptocephalus leucomelas Suffrian - Cryptocephalus leucomelas Cryptocephalus maccus R. White  - Cryptocephalus maccus Cryptocephalus pseudomaccus R. White  - Cryptocephalus pseudomaccus=At the Arizona Desert Museum black light  - Cryptocephalus pseudomaccus Cryptocephalus texanus Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus texanus Cryptocephalus duryi Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus duryi Cryptocephalus binotatus R. White - Cryptocephalus binotatus

(bivius - seUS, and texanus are allopatric as are castaneus - swUS and cupressi - LA)

Pronotum with four black to red, longitudinal, nearly parallel markings, sometimes running together or completely joined, rarely absent. Elytra with basic pattern of dark markings as follows: two large to medium discal spots, two usually medium lateral spots, two medium or small apical spots, markings frequently reduced or modified, infrequently absent. Background color of dorsal surface yellowish to orange.

The species duryi and binotatus are atypical but are nearer to the Cupressi group than any other.

Calidus group: albicans Haldeman, aulicus Haldeman, bispinus Suffrian, calidus Suffrian, gibbicollis Haldeman, insertus Haldeman, mutabilis Melsheimer.

Cryptocephalus albicans Haldeman  - Cryptocephalus albicans Cryptocephalus aulicus Haldeman  - Cryptocephalus aulicus=Leaf Beetle - Cryptocephalus aulicus Cryptocephalus bispinus Suffrian - Cryptocephalus bispinus - male Cryptocephalus calidus Suffrian - Cryptocephalus calidus 
Cryptocephalus insertus Cryptocephalus gibbicollis decrescens R. White  - Cryptocephalus gibbicollis=Cryptocephalus g. gibbicollis Haldeman - Cryptocephalus gibbicollis Cryptocephalus mutabilis F. E. Melsheimer - Cryptocephalus mutabilis= Cryptocephalus mutabilis F. E. Melsheimer - Cryptocephalus mutabilis

Basic elytral pattern of dark (usually black) markings as follows: from base of second, third, and fourth intervals to apex of second, and on most to all of sixth, seventh, and eighth intervals, pattern often reduced; pronotum predominantly dark, usually with more or less vague, oblique light spots at base.

At first glance, the dark elytral pattern of mutabilis would appear to have little relation to the basic pattern of this group; however, in certain specimens of insertus with reduced lateral vittae and expanded inner vittae, the resulting pattern almost exactly matches that of many specimens of mutabilis.

The calidus group is closely allied to the following, and the two could even be united due to the similarity of the basic elytral patterns.

Venustus group: venustus Fabricius, obsoletus Germar.

Cryptocephalus venustus Fabricius - Cryptocephalus venustus=Cryptocephalus venustus Fabricius  - Cryptocephalus venustus=Cryptocephalus venustus cinctipennis - Cryptocephalus venustus Cryptocephalus o. obsoletus Germar  - Cryptocephalus obsoletus=beetle - Cryptocephalus obsoletus
(obsoletus - coastal states from LA to FL to MD)

Anterior margin of prosternum of male with a stout spine, that of female with a V-shaped lobe; pronotum predominantly dark, usually with two vague, oblique, light spots at base; each elytron usually, with dark markings from base of second, third, and fourth intervals to apex of second, and on all of sixth, seventh, and eighth intervals; markings may be expanded or reduced.

Cuneatus group: cuneatus Fall, trivittatus Olivier.

Cryptocephalus cuneatus Fall - Cryptocephalus cuneatus Cryptocephalus trivittatus Olivier - Cryptocephalus trivittatus

(eastern spp.)

Pronotum with three broad, longitudinal, reddish markings; each elytron at suture and sixth and seventh intervals reddish to black.

Tinctus group: implacidus R. White, lateritius Newman (not shown), falli Schöller, schreibersii Suffrian, striatulus LeConte, tinctus LeConte. 

Cryptocephalus implacidus R. White  - Cryptocephalus implacidus=Cryptocephalus implacidus R. White  - Cryptocephalus implacidus=Cryptocephalus implacidus R. White - Cryptocephalus implacidus=Cryptocephalus implacidus R. White - Cryptocephalus implacidus=Cryptocephalus implacidus R. White - Cryptocephalus implacidus
Cryptocephalus falli Schöller - Cryptocephalus falli=Cryptocephalus falli Schöller - Cryptocephalus falli=070812Beetle1 - Cryptocephalus falli
Cryptocephalus schreibersii Suffrian - Cryptocephalus schreibersii Cryptocephalus striatulus J. L. LeConte - Cryptocephalus striatulus Leaf Beetle - Cryptocephalus tinctus

Top row: implacidus - TX-LA-MO-OK
Middle row: falli - FL endemic

Pronotal punctures large and deep to longitudinally elongate and producing a furrowed appearance; punctures at elytral apex sometimes regular, but most often confused; elytral color pattern, when present, consisting of three dark, transverse, indistinct, undulatebands.

There may be a relationship between insertus of the calidus group and the members of this group.

Arizonensis group: arizonensis Schaeffer, nanus Fabricius, sanguinicollis Suffrian, pallidicinctus Fall.

Cryptocephalus a. arizonensis Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus arizonensis Cryptocephalus nanus Fabricius  - Cryptocephalus nanus=Cryptocephalus nanus Fabricius - Cryptocephalus nanus

Red & Black Casebearer in California - Cryptocephalus sanguinicollis Cryptocephalus pallidicinctus Fall - Cryptocephalus pallidicinctus

(arizonensis - AZ to TX)

Pronotum red or orange (except black in sanguinicollis nigerrimus Crotch) and elytra usually black, sometimes very dark with bluish or greenish luster and occasionally with basal portion of elytra at sideyellowish or lighter than remainder.

Amatus group: amatus Haldeman, merus Fall.

Cryptocephalus amatus Haldeman - Cryptocephalus amatus=Cryptocephalus amatus Haldeman - Cryptocephalus amatus=Cryptocephalus amatus Haldeman - Cryptocephalus amatus Cryptocephalus merus Fall - Cryptocephalus merus=Cryptocephalus merus? - Cryptocephalus merus

(western spp.)

Basic elytral pattern consisting of dark markings on sutural, first, third, and fifth to last intervals; pronotum predominantly dark, usually with a median and two lateral, longitudinal dark markings, lateral and apical margins narrowly lighter.

Fall (1932, p. 23) described the prosternal spine of merus as a unique structure; in comparison with amatus the spine is unique only in its position.

Snowi group: cribripennis LeConte, simulans Schaeffer, snowi Schaeffer.

Cryptocephalus cribripennis J. L. LeConte - Cryptocephalus cribripennis Cryptocephalus sp. - Cryptocephalus simulans Smaller Cryptocephalus sp. - Cryptocephalus snowi

With seven rows of punctures and an incomplete row between fifth and sixth rows, punctures often large and sparse; basic elytral dark markings consisting of vittae on intervals two, four, and six (latter formed of two united intervals) ; anterior margin of prosternum of both sexes produced into a broad, often pointed lobe; pronotumpredominantly dark, with oblique, basal, yellowish markings, lateral and apical markings yellowish; size large.

Confluentus group: alternans Suffrian, brunneovittatus Schaeffer, cerinus B. E. White, confluentus Say, defectus LeConte, dorsatus R. White (not shown), fulguratus LeConte, luteolus Newman, pumilus Haldeman, spurcus LeConte.

Cryptocephalus alternans Suffrian  - Cryptocephalus alternans=Cryptocephalus alternans jungovittatus R. White - Cryptocephalus alternans Cryptocephalus brunneovittatus Schaeffer - Cryptocephalus brunneovittatus Cryptocephalus c. cerinus B. White  - Cryptocephalus cerinus unknown chrysomellid - Cryptocephalus confluentus
Cryptocephalus defectus LeConte - Cryptocephalus defectus Cryptocephalus fulguratus LeConte - Cryptocephalus fulguratus=Cryptocephalus fulguratus LeConte - Cryptocephalus fulguratus=Cryptocephalus fulguratus LeConte - Cryptocephalus fulguratus Cryptocephalus luteolus Newman - Cryptocephalus luteolus
 Cryptocephalus s. spurcus J. L. LeConte  - Cryptocephalus spurcus=Cryptocephalus - Cryptocephalus spurcus=Cryptocephalus spurcus vandykei B. White  - Cryptocephalus spurcus

Basic elytral pattern of dark markings consisting of complete vittae on intervals two, four, and six (latter formed by union of twointervals) often with pattern modified or absent.

Specimens which differ in minor details of color and elytral punctation may be distinguished within this group of species and subspecies. The taxa within the complex are so close and ill-defined that the arrangement advanced here can be considered only tentative. I have found it impossible to delimit to my satisfaction the apparently undescribed taxa on the basis of external morphology alone and feel that a complete understanding of the interrelationships will probably have to await biological studies. Whether a given series of apparently similar individuals (including some described taxa) is to be considered a species or subspecies (and, if the latter, to which species it is allied) appears to be largely conjectural. Those taxa I have described are the ones most obviously distinct; others are not treated herein because of the difficulties.

The only species not assigned to any of the above groups is trizonatus Suffrian. I believe it properly belongs to a separate group that would include it and at least four other species from Central America with similar coloration. In the USNM collection, four and possibly five species are similar to trizonatus; of these, many have been determined as trizonatus but are clearly distinct from it.

Cryptocephalus trizonatus Suffrian - Cryptocephalus trizonatus

Richard E.White. 1968.
A Review of the Genus Cryptocephalus in America North of Mexico (Chrysomelidae: Coleoptera).
United States National Museum Bulletin 290. 124 pp. 

Primarily, White (1968) depended on similarities in the elytral striae and the pronotal and elytral color pattern for grouping species. The characters presented as typical of or similar within the species of each group are briefly described, but no attempt has been made to make the characters that are discussed directly comparable between groups; in all cases, however, the elytral striae and color pattern are described. The groups are named on the basis of the species which most clearly shows the characters typical of the group. The characters listed are presented in approximate order of their reliability, the first character being the most distinctive for that particular group. Those leastdistinctive or consistent are at or near the end of the description.

Cryptocephalus species not represented with a photograph. Distributions per Riley et al. (2003)

astralosus R. White - AZ
contextus R. White - AZ
cowaniae Schaeffer - AZ
disruptus R. White - CO
dorsatus R. White - TX
lateritius Newman - FL, GA, NC
lunulatus Schöller (=lunatus R. White) - TX
virginiensis R. White - VA

Cryptocephalus species described or introduced after White's (1968) review of the genus

andrewsi E. Riley & Gilbert - CA
australobispinus E. Riley & Gilbert - TX
downiei E. Riley & Gilbert - TX
irroratus Suffrian - FL / Mex. C. Amer. - Cupressi group (?)
nigrocinctus Suffrian - FL / W. Indies - Arizonensis group

Cryptocephalus andrewsi E. Riley & Gilbert  - Cryptocephalus andrewsi - male Cryptocephalus australobispinus E. Riley & Gilbert - Cryptocephalus australobispinus Cryptocephalus downiei E. Riley & Gilbert  - Cryptocephalus downiei Ladybug size beetle - Cryptocephalus irroratus Cryptocephalus nigrocinctus Suffrian - Cryptocephalus nigrocinctus

Griburius and Bassareus

Griburius and Bassareus are two genera (not treated in White (1968)) that resemble Cryptocephalus.

: equestris (Olivier), larvatus (Newman), lecontii Crotch, montezuma (Suffrian), scutellaris (Fabricius)

Griburius larvatus Griburius equestris (Olivier) - Griburius equestris=Griburius equestris (Olivier) - Griburius equestris Griburius - Griburius undetermined Griburius scutellaris (Fabricius) - Griburius scutellaris
Griburius montezuma (Suffrian)  - Griburius montezuma=Griburius montezuma (Suffrian)  - Griburius montezuma=Griburius montezuma (Suffrian) - Griburius montezuma=Griburius montezuma (Suffrian) - Griburius montezuma Griburius lecontii Crotch - Griburius lecontii

Bassareus species: areolatus (Suffrian), brunnipes (Olivier), clathratus (F. E. Melsheimer), croceipennis J. L. LeConte, detritus (Olivier), formosus (F. E. Melsheimer), lituratus (Fabricius), mammifer (Newman), quadrisignatus Suffrian

Bassareus areolatus (Suffrian)  - Bassareus areolatus Bassareus brunnipes (Olivier)  - Bassareus brunnipes Bassareus clathratus (F. E. Melsheimer)  - Bassareus clathratus Bassareus mammifer (Newman)  - Bassareus mammifer=
Bassareus croceipennis J. L. LeConte - Bassareus croceipennis Bassareus lituratus (Fabricius) - Bassareus lituratus Bassareus detritus - female Bassareus formosus (F. E. Melsheimer) - Bassareus formosus
Note, most Bassareus spp. are quite variable.


Fall, H.C. 1932. New Species of Cryptocephalus (Coleoptera; Chrysomelidae). Psyche 39: 21-25. (Full Text)

Riley, E.G., S.M. Clark, & A.J. Gilbert. 2001. New records, nomenclatural changes, and taxonomic notes for select North American leaf beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Insecta Mundi 15(1): 1-17. Full PDF

Riley, E.G., S.M. Clark, R.W. Flowers, and A.J. Gilbert. 2002. Family 124. Chrysomelidae Latreille 1802, Pp. 617-691. In: Arnett, et al. (editors) American Beetles vol. 2, Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. xiv + 861 pp.

Riley, E.G., S.M. Clark, & T.N. Seeno. 2003. Catalog of the leaf beetles of America north of Mexico (Coleoptera: Megalopodidae, Orsodacnidae and Chrysomelidae, excluding Bruchinae). Coleopterists Society, Special Publication no. 1. 290 pp.

Riley, E.G. & A.J. Gilbert. 1999 (2000). Three new species of Cryptocephalus Geoffroy from the United States and a new United States record (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae, Cryptocephalinae). Occasional Papers of the Consortium Coleopterorum 3(1): 30-35.

Thomas, M.C., E.G. Riley, & S. Clark. 1999. Two leaf beetles new to Florida (Chrysomelidae). Insecta Mundi 13(3-4): 212. (Full PDF)

White, R.E. 1968. A review of the genus Cryptocephalus in America north of Mexico (Chrysomelidae: Coleoptera). United States National Museum Bulletin 290. 124 pp. (Full Text)

Dec. 22, 2017 © Mike Quinn / Texas Entomology / Texas Beetle Information