Saturday, June 27, 2009

Margined Leatherwing

This is the Margined Leatherwing (Chauliognathus marginatus) which is another type of soldier beetle. They are frequently found on flowers throughout the Central and Eastern portions of the United States. Very common to abundant in Missouri. Adults feed on pollen, and nectar as you can see by the third picture, appears he is a greedy little pig. He was absolutely covered in pollen. Sometimes they may feed on insect eggs if they come across them while foraging on flowers. After mating, the female will lay masses of eggs under leaf litter or in the soil. The larvae feed on corn earworm larva and corn borers. Making them hugely beneficial. Full grown larva overwinter and pupate under ground once spring arrives. Often times these beetles are mistaken for a similar species called the Goldenrod Beetle. The easiest way to tell the difference is by the time of year they are present. Margined Leatherwings are around in the spring and summer feeding on a host of plants. Whereas Goldenrod Beetles will be found in the late summer and fall when Goldenrod is in bloom. This beetle is approximately 1/2 inch in length with a very elongated body. They have soft wing coverings that are a golden yellow. Distinctive markings are the black oval shaped spots at the end of they elytra (wings). These wings only partially cover the abdomen and do not extend to the tip. Their pronotum is reddish in color with a black smudge mark through the center and the head is partially black. Abdomen is black and extends out from under the abdomen. Look for them throughout the spring and summer in gardens, along roadsides, in prairies or meadows, anywhere there is an abundance of flowers in bloom.

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