So-called Checkered Beetles aren’t always checkered but there sure are a lot of them! Members of the Cleridae family, these beetles can be found in the Americas, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Australia though their abundance and habitats vary considerably. Entomologists estimate there are approximately 3,500 species of Checkered Beetles in all with 500 species alone being native to North America.
(image via: BugGuide)
To the casual viewer, Checkered Beetles are distinguished by the many bristly hairs covering their bodies. As well, many of the species are longish in appearance (compared to average, garden-variety beetles) and quite a few aren’t “checkered” at all. We’ve featured images of some of the more checker-y ones to best represent these cool Coleoptera.
Checkerboard Wrasse (Halichoeres hortulanus) grow to approximately 27cm (about 10 inches) in length and green heads highlighted by irregular pinkish-orange stripes. Behind their heads is where they’ve earned their fame, however. Each white scale is separated by a black spot giving the fish’s sides a distinct checkerboard pattern. It’s not known if the unusual pattern assists the Checkerboard Wrasse in blending in with its surroundings but as such patterns are rare among fish we’ll simply ascribe its look to a happy accident of evolution.
(image via: Nikki van Veelen)
Also be known as the Chequered Wrasse in British-influenced countries/regions or the Wall Wrasse – presumably because its checkered scale pattern reminds one of a brick wall – the Checkerboard Wrasse makes its home in tropical marine environments of the Indo-Pacific region ranging from the Red Sea, throughout South-east Asia and Micronesia, north to Japan, south to Australia and east to the Tuamoto Islands. Kudos to Flickr user Nikki van Veelen for capturing the awesome Checkerboard Wrasse image above.