Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Pennsylvania Leatherwing Beetle

The Pennsylvania leatherwing, Chauliognathus pensylvanicus
If you walk through a field, garden, or park in the eastern United States during August or September, you will probably see a Pennsylvania leatherwing beetle.

They resemble their relatives, the fireflies, but they don't light up. Adults are about half an inch long and are yellowish orange. They have a horizontal black dash on the "shoulders" or pronotum -- the section between the head and the wings. The lower third of the wing is covered by a dark oval mark.

Usually a beetle's outer wings are hard, like those of a ladybug, to protect the inner flight wings. Leatherwings get their common name from their unusual soft and flexible outerwings.

Click on the photos to enlarge them. 
I always see Pennsylvania leatherwings walking on flowers in groups. While they are looking for snacks of pollen and insects, they often copulate among the blossom.

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