I have been seeing these beetles in our wafer ash patch and then had this beautiful picture by Becky Swearingen jump out at me on Bi-State Bugs. In the past I had seen similar colored Pennsylvania Leatherwings, Chauliognathus pensylvanicus, but the pattern wasn't right. This is the Margined Leatherwing beetle, Chauliognathus marginatus. It appears in late spring and will be gone by mid-summer, about the time that the Pennsylvanians first appear to inhabit their favorite plant, goldenrods.
|Mating Pair - REK|
|Leatherwing female - REK|
|Leatherwing male - REK|
|Pennsylvania Leatherwing-Clay Nichols|
While the Pennsylvania Leatherwing is usually found on goldenrod, the preferred flowers of the adult Margined Leatherwing include wild hydrangea, New Jersey tea, and basswood.
Leatherwings nectar on flowers as well as feeding on small insects and their eggs. As they crawl around the flowers, they accumulate lots of pollen which they transport to nearby flowers. Following mating, they lay their eggs in the soil and ground litter where their larvae will feed until their fall pupation.
|Firefly head hidden|
Pennsylvania Leatherwings, also called Goldenrod Soldier Beetles, are described further at this link.