Six-spotted Pot Beetle Cryptocephalus sexpunctatus
The Six-spotted Pot Beetle is a typical Leaf Beetle, measuring some 5 to 7 mm. It is brownish or reddish yellow and usually has three large and extremely variable black spots on the shield. The neck shield is mainly black with a dark yellow spot in the middle and the same colour is found near the edges. Adults are seen from May to early July. The larvae appear from August onwards. It may take the larvae two years to develop completely, especially under colder conditions, but usually development is concluded in some 10 months. The larva overwinters and pupates in early spring.
The larvae of the Pot Beetles are quite remarkable, as they live in a case. The mother hides each egg in small pieces of faeces. Once born, the larva expands this case while growing. The case is shaped like a minute fir cone at first and later looks like a small pot, hence the common name for beetles from the genus.
We are almost certain the animal in the picture is the Six-spotted Pot Beetle, but there is a minute possibility it is not. Some other species are in existance, notibly the Five-Spotted Pot Beetle and the Two-spotted Pot Beetle, which look like the Six-xpotted Pot Beetle a lot. And alas, all species are very variable. Spots may also overlap and this makes identification even more troublesome. Should you want to be absolutely sure, you will have to kill the animal and examine the genitals under a microscope...