Orange/black mystery bug
Location: Radnor, Pennsylvania (suburban Philly)
August 16, 2011 7:07 am
I saw this insect sitting on my car this past week and don’t recall ever seeing it before. The body/wings are about 5/8” long and with the antennae it was just over 1 inch total length. I’ve so far not been able to get an ID on what it is.
This little beauty is a Banded Net-Wing Beetle, Calopteron reticulatum. It is a generally accepted theory that orange and black insects display aposomatic coloration to dissuade predators, either because they are dangerous, or poisonous, or don’t taste good. The Banded Net-Wing Beetle is not dangerous or poisonous, and taste is relative. It may be part of a complex mimicry system that includes some moths and some wasps. The wasps sting, and insects that mimic them may benefit from the protection the wasps enjoy because of their stinging capacity. This is speculative editorialization on the part of our staff, and not something we can cite. You may turn to BugGuide for additional information on the Banded Net-Wing Beetle.