Texas Beetle Information

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Downie's Spotted Leaf Beetle

Cryptocephalus downiei Riley & Gilbert

Family Chrysomelidae, Subfamily Cryptocephalinae, Tribe Cryptocephalini


Cryptocephalus downiei specimens in a unit tray curated at the TAMUIC

Known Distribution for Cryptocephalus downiei

Source: Riley & Gilbert (1999)

Range: Kenedy (3 specimens) and San Patricio (1 specimen) counties in South Texas (Riley & Gilbert 1999)

Adult Activity: April 7 through May 6 based on 4 specimens collected in 1961, 1978, and 1980 (2) (Riley & Gilbert 1999)

Hosts: Specific plant associations remain unknown (Riley & Gilbert 1999, Clark et al. 2004).

ID Note

"The stout body form, highly polished and weakly punctate dorsal surface as well as the unique color pattern will readily separate this species from all other Cryptocephalus found north of Mexico. The pattern and intensity of black markings is consistent in the four specimens examined. This species lacks close relatives in our area, but a few undetermined species seen from Mexico and Central America share the smooth surface, stout body, close eyes, and the sharply contrasting color pattern. It will not key out in White's (1968) key without gross discrepancies, and it requires a separate group in White's system" (Riley & Gilbert 1999).

Similar Species

Seventy-seven species of Cryptocephalus occur in America north of Mexico (Arnett et al. 2002).
Forty-two species of Cryptocephalus occur in Texas (Riley et al. 2003).
This species lacks close relatives in our area (Riley & Gilbert 1999).


This species name honors the late Norville Downie, collector of the holotype and one paratype, in recognition of his contributions to the knowledge of North American Coleoptera (Riley & Gilbert 1999).


Arnett, R.H., Jr., M.C. Thomas, P.E. Skelley & J.H. Frank. (editors). 2002. American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 861 pp.

Clark, S.M., D.G. LeDoux, T.N. Seeno, E.G. Riley, A.J. Gilbert & J.M. Sullivan. 2004. Host plants of leaf beetle species occurring in the United States and Canada (Coleoptera: Megalopodidae, Orsodacnidae, Chrysomelidae exclusive of Bruchinae). Coleopterists Society, Special Publication no. 2, 476 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.

White, R.E. 1968. A Review of the Genus Cryptocephalus in America North of Mexico (Chrysomelidae: Coleoptera). USNM Bulletin 290. 124 pp.

01 Oct. 2009   Mike Quinn / entomike@gmail.com / Texas Entomology / Texas Beetle Information