Currently viewing the category: "Soldier Beetles"
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What bug is this?
Location: California, United States of America
April 20, 2011 1:54 am
Hello, I really hope this is not a termite! We have a bunch of them outside our home by the light at night. We live in California and it is currently spring time here.
Signature: Jared Peters

Soldier Beetle

Hi Jared,
This is some species of Soldier Beetle in the family Cantharidae.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults eat nectar, pollen, other insects; larvae are fluid-feeding predators, feed on insect eggs and larvae.”  Many species of Soldier Beetles look quite similar.

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Cant ID this beetle
Location: Southern california (el cajon)
April 17, 2011 3:21 pm
OK Ive been going nuts on Google trying to find these guys , i made a little garden around a sycamore tree and these things are EVERYWHERE hundreds of them and i cant seem to ID him would be appreciate it , Sorry about the photo quality hard to take a pic of em , they seem to ”sleep” during the day and if you wake them they run off and fly they’re about an inch long total wish i could describe them better , Thanks.
Signature: -Joe

Brown Leatherwings

Hi Joe,
Though your photo is quite blurry, we are relatively certain you have Brown Leatherwings,
Pacificanthia consors, though that common name is attributed to Charles Hogue in his awesome book, Insects of the Los Angeles Basis, and the common name is not recognized on BugGuide.  According to Hogue, Brown Leatherwings feed on small insects they find among leaf litter, so they will not damage you nor your property.

Thanks for the quick response , yep thats them alright its very much appreciated thank you for your time.

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Bugged out in Birdland
June 8, 2010
We are in East Central Illinois and it is June 8th. I found these bugs swarming all over the ground and up the birdbath. I stepped over to see them and they started up my leg as well. My husband thought they were lightning bugs but I think not. Can someone id this crawler/flyer and should I be concerned? The birds don’t like them either.
Marcia in Birdland
East Central Illinois

Margined Leatherwing

Hi Marcia,
Thank you for your descriptive letter and wonderful images including the mating behavior
of the Margined Leatherwings, Chauliognathus marginatus.  According to BugGuide:  “Very similar to C. pennsylvanicus, but pronotum has wide dark band, instead of an irregular dark spot. Elytra of C. marginatus often more extensively dark than pennsylvanicus. C. marginatus is also somewhat smaller and is active earlier in summer than C. pennsylvanicus.”  Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus is known as the Goldenrod Soldier Beetle, and it makes its appearance in September when the goldenrod is blooming.  The adults feed on nectar and pollen, and possibly aphids, but the larvae are considered beneficial predators.  Your observation that birds don’t eat them is interesting, and it may be related to a foul taste.  Interesting, according to BugGuide regarding the family name Chntharidae:  “The compound cantharidin is named for this group of beetles, presumably, but was actually isolated from blister beetles, Meloidae–at that time presumably the family was included with the Cantharidae.”  We are setting your wonderful letter and photographs to post live to our website between June 15 and June 22 when we will be visiting mom and working in her garden.  That way our readership can get daily updates while we are out of the office.

Mating Margined Leatherwings

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black bug reminds me of a lightening bug with no light
May 27, 2010
I have recently seen these black bugs in my home. it only started after it warmed up, which was later than expected here in michigan. i have 2 small children and am concerned if they were to get bitten.
Michigan, Mid

Soldier Beetle

Dear email,
This is some species of Soldier Beetle in the family Cantharidae, but we have not had much luck determining the exact species based on the images posted to BugGuide.    According to BugGuide:  “Adults eat nectar, pollen and in some cases other insects, particularly aphids.  Larvae are generally carnivorous and feed on small soft-bodied insects.
They will not harm your children.

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Flying orange head gray wing bug
May 15, 2010
Hello, I live in southern California in an area with a lot of trees. As soon as the weather became warm, I have been finding these insects around my house. It has a small orange head with black beady eyes the size of a pen mark. It has two antennas, and six legs. Its legs almost remind me of a cockroach. Lastly it’s body is no more than 1/8in wide and about .5-1in long in the shape of a rectangle. Its wings do not taper off instead ends like a rectangle.
Los Angeles, ca

Brown Leatherwing Carnage

Dear Sharon,
In an effort to educate our readership and to promote tolerance of beneficial insects that pose no threat to humans, we created an Unnecessary Carnage tag for letters like yours.  This Brown Leatherwing appears to have been squashed in a paper towel.  The Brown Leatherwing, Pacificanthia consors and formerly Cantharis consors, is a species of Soldier Beetle and adults are frequently attracted to porch lights in southern California.  Keeping the porch light off at night will conserve energy as well as eliminate the number of Brown Leatherwings that enter your home.  Soldier Beetles are predators, and the Brown Leatherwing feeds upon other insects.

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A longhorn beetle?
April 23, 2010
Hello. This cute little guy flew into my house at night. The “fern” like legs are very attractive. it’s about half an inch long with fuzzy brownish grey wings, and a red head. I wonder if it’s a type of longhorn beetle? thanks in advance for your help!

Brown Leatherwing

Hi Katie,
We have been seeing these Brown Leatherwings, Pacificanthia consors, formerly Cantharis consors, on our own front porch windows where they are attracted to the porch light.  Though the antennae of the Brown Leatherwing are long, they are not Longhorned Beetles, but rather, Soldier Beetles in the family Cantharidae. Read Full Article →

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination