Beautiful winged

September 06, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

When it comes to an identification, this almost everyday insect is more than a bit confusing. At first glance, it appears to be a moth, but on closer inspection, the antennae are wrong for a lepidopteran, and what look like wings are actually wing covers known as elytra. These characteristics put it in the beetle camp, and that's where I started a merry chase. Using Art Evans's masterwork, Beetles of Eastern North America, as my guide book, I slowly went page by page until I made it to the Beetle family Lycidae on page 229. The Net-winged Beetles are mothlike fliers whose elytra and leg joints are specialized to produce noxious fluids, and their typically bright colors are an advertisement of their bad taste. Predators stay away. Photographers and naturalists, on the other hand, are attracted to the orange and black, which, I eventually discovered, is the hallmark of Calopteron reticulatum, the Banded Net-Winged Beetle that roamed the spent Hydrangea blossoms.


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