It's time for the Monday edition of ...

It's time for the Monday edition of #BenInNature presented by our friends at Carter Bank & Trust!

Last week, I joined several of my colleagues on a trip to the home of a long-time friend of VMNH. We spent the morning exploring her property to see what kind of cool critters we could spot, and this week, I've decided to highlight some of my favorite finds from the trip! First up: a Calligrapha leaf beetle!

These beetles are members of the leaf beetle subfamily Chrysomelinae, the most notorious member of which is the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), which many gardeners out there are likely familiar with. The genus Calligrapha contains at least 50 species, most of which can be found in Central and South America, but several of which are native to the U.S. What they all have in common are striking patterns (and often vivid colors) on their elytra, which is the hard shell that covers the beetle's flight wings.

I believe this particular beetle is either Calligrapha confluens or Calligrapha ignota, both of which have similar patterns on their elytra. The pattern almost looks like a Rorschach inkblot test ... on second thought, it kind of looks like my high school crush laughing at me. Weird.

ABOUT #BenInNature
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends. This series of posts is made possible thanks to the support of VMNH Corporate Partner Carter Bank & Trust (www.cbtcares.com)

NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!

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