Net Winged Beetle: A Quick Guide to Essential Information

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The Net-winged Beetle is an intriguing species known for its vibrant color patterns and unique visual adaptations. These beetles, belonging to the Lycidae family, are typically soft-bodied and slow-moving with thick antennae and veiny wing covers that showcase an array of colors, often red or orange mixed with black 1. Their bright coloring and noxious odor serve as a defense mechanism by warning potential predators of their unpalatability.

One bizarre variant of Net-winged Beetles is the Trilobite Beetle, which belongs to the Platerodrilus genus (previously Duliticola), native to China, Southeast Asia, and India. Adult males of these species measure about 8-9 mm (1/3 inch) in length 2. Other species, such as the Banded Net-winged Beetle (Calopteron discrepans), feature a distinct orange color with black bands on their elytra and can be between 10-15 mm long 3.

Some fascinating characteristics of Net-winged Beetles include:

  • Vibrant color patterns (usually red or orange combined with black)
  • Soft bodies with thick antennae
  • Unique veiny wing covers held in a delta configuration 1

Net Winged Beetle Overview

Net-winged beetles, belonging to the family Lycidae, are distinctive insects found within the order Coleoptera. They are part of the suborder Polyphaga and the superfamily Elateroidea.

These beetles are soft-bodied and slow-moving. They possess unique features like:

  • Thick antennae
  • Veiny, often red/orange, and black wing covers
  • Delta-shaped wing configuration

A prime example of a net-winged beetle is the Banded net-winged beetle (Calopteron discrepans). They are typically 10 to 15 mm in length, with males being smaller than females. Adult males of the Trilobite beetle (Platerodrilus genus) look like regular net-winged beetles, but measure just 8-9 mm long.

Net-winged Beetle Characteristics Banded net-winged beetle Trilobite beetle
Length 10-15 mm 8-9 mm
Antennae Thick Thick
Wing covers Red/orange and black Red/orange and black

Net-winged beetles are classified under the:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Hexapoda
  • Class: Insecta

Physical Features and Identification

The Net-winged Beetle, specifically the Banded Net-winged Beetle (Calopteron discrepans), showcases distinct physical features. Here are some key characteristics:

  • Length: 10 to 15 mm
  • Colors: Orange and black
  • Elytra: Orange with black bands
  • Ridges: Elevated lengthwise and cross ridges

Adult Net-winged Beetles vary in size, with males typically being smaller than females. Their vibrant orange and black coloration serves as warning to predators that they are unpalatable.

The elytra, or wing covers, have an intricate pattern with median and terminal black bands on an orange background. These wing covers are also characterized by their elevated lengthwise ridges and cross ridges, a common feature in Lycid beetles ^(1^).

Here’s a comparison table of the features of Banded Net-winged Beetle:

Feature Description
Length 10 to 15 mm
Colors Orange and black
Elytra Orange with black bands
Ridges Elevated lengthwise ridges

These striking physical features make Net-winged Beetles easily identifiable and serve essential functions in their survival and reproduction.

The exoskeleton of the Banded Net-winged Beetle is soft-bodied, while their head is equipped with thick antennae, which play a crucial role in their sensory perception. In summary, the unique combination of color, elytra patterns, and ridges make the Banded Net-winged Beetle easy to identify and appreciate.

Habitat and Range

Net-winged beetles are found throughout North America, including Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. They occupy a variety of habitats, such as forests, grasslands, and wetlands.

Their preferred habitats include:

  • Trees: Beetles often dwell on tree trunks and branches.
  • Leaf litter: They seek refuge in decaying leaves on the forest floor.
  • Vegetation: Some species live among plants and shrubs in grasslands.

Net-winged beetles have a wide territorial reach, as shown in the territorial map [link to the map]. They are most active around sundown, where they can be seen flying in search of food or mates.

Some key characteristics of net-winged beetles include:

  • Relatively small size, usually less than 1 inch in length
  • Distinctive wing patterns with a network of raised veins
  • Nocturnal behavior, with increased activity around sundown

Comparing the range and habitat preferences of net-winged beetles to other beetle families:

Beetle Family Range Preferred Habitat
Net-winged beetles North America Trees, leaf litter, vegetation
Stag beetles North America, Europe Decaying wood, forested areas
Dung beetles Worldwide Animal waste, grasslands, forests

Diet and Feeding Habits

Banded net-winged beetles, scientifically known as Calopteron discrepans, mainly feed on two primary sources:

  • Nectar: An important food source for adults.
  • Pollen: Additionally consumed by adult beetles.

These beetles are often found on:

  • Flowers: Where they enjoy nectar and pollen.
  • Plants: During the larvae stage, they consume fungi and rotting plants.

Below is a comparison table illustrating the diet of adult and larval net-winged beetles:

Life Stage Food Source
Adult Nectar & Pollen
Larvae Fungi & Plants

Some features of the net-winged beetle’s diet include:

  • Attraction to flowers for food.
  • Consumption of plant-based materials.
  • Ability to survive on a variety of plant sources.

In summary, net-winged beetles have a diet primarily consisting of nectar, pollen, plants, and fungi, depending on their developmental stage. They are often found on flowers, where they can easily access their food sources.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of a net-winged beetle goes through complete metamorphosis, consisting of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult1.

Egg Stage

  • The first stage in the beetle’s life cycle
  • Duration of 7 to 10 days1

Larva Stage

  • Second stage in the beetle’s life cycle
  • Features soft body and thick antennae2

Pupa Stage

  • Third stage before becoming an adult
  • Transformation from larva to adult happens here

Adult Stage

  • Final stage, where beetle has developed wings
  • Males are smaller than females3

Comparison Table

Stage Duration Characteristics
Egg 7 to 10 days First stage, beetle in egg form
Larva Varies Soft body, thick antennae
Pupa Varies Transformation to adult happens
Adult Until death Developed wings, can reproduce

Predators and Defense Mechanisms

Net-winged beetles face various predators such as Thalmor, wolf spiders, and orb-weaving spiders. To fend off these threats, these beetles employ several defense mechanisms.

  • Aposematic warning coloration: Net-winged beetles exhibit bright colors to warn predators of their unpalatable nature.
  • Chemical defenses: These beetles produce chemicals like lycidic acid and fatty acids1 to deter would-be attackers.

A key component of the net-winged beetle’s defenses is its mimicry complex. Some examples include resembling fireflies and soldier beetles2.

Here is a comparison table of some predators and defense mechanisms of net-winged beetles:

Predator Defense Mechanism
Thalmor Warning coloration
Wolf Spiders Chemical defense
Orb-weaving Spiders Mimicry complex

Overall, net-winged beetles have evolved effective strategies to avoid predation by combining their warning coloration, chemical defenses, and clever mimicry.

Interactions with Other Species

Net-winged beetles, particularly those in the genus Platerodrilus, have some interesting interactions with other species. One notable example is their relationship with fungi. These beetles feed on fungal spores and help disperse them throughout their environment source.

Some species, like Pyromorpha and Lycomorpha, have developed vibrant warning colors to deter predators source. The colors serve as a signal that they contain chemical defenses, such as noxious odors, to repel potential threats.

  • Features of Platerodrilus beetles:
    • Feed on fungal spores
    • Disperse fungi throughout their environment
  • Features of Pyromorpha and Lycomorpha beetles:
    • Vibrant warning colors
    • Chemical defenses like noxious odors

Beetles such as Platerodrilus have developed ways to mitigate risks from fungi. They actively remove fungal spores before grooming themselves to prevent infection source.

Some net-winged beetles, including Platerodrilus, are known to engage in mutualistic relationships. Their feeding on fungi can benefit both the beetle and the fungi, as the beetle gets a food source and the fungi get a means of dispersion source.

Feature Platerodrilus Pyromorpha & Lycomorpha
Interaction with fungi Feed on fungal spores Not applicable
Relation with predators Not applicable Chemical defenses
Mutualistic relationships Possible with fungi Not applicable

Overall, net-winged beetles are unique in their interactions with other species by engaging in mutualistic relationships and utilizing chemical defenses against predators.

Research and Scientific Studies

Net-winged beetles belong to the scientific name Calopteron. They comprise several species, including Calopteron terminale, Calopteron reticulatum, and Calopteron discrepans 1. These species exhibit distinct coloration and defensive abilities.

For instance, Calopteron discrepans adults are around 10 to 15 mm long and display orange elytra with black bands2. These beetles are known for their brilliant colors, which serve as a warning to predators of their noxious odors3.

Renowned entomologist Thomas Eisner has contributed significantly to research on these insects4. In his book “Secret Weapons: Defenses of Insects, Spiders, Scorpions, and Other Many-Legged Creatures,” Eisner explores the unconventional protective mechanisms employed by net-winged beetles5.

Here’s a comparison table of the three common net-winged beetle species:

Species Size Colors
Calopteron terminale 10-15 mm Orange and black
Calopteron reticulatum 10-15 mm Orange and black
Calopteron discrepans 10-15 mm Orange and black bands2

In conclusion, net-winged beetles are fascinating insects with their vibrant colors, intriguing defensive strategies, and varying species. Ongoing research, including work by Thomas Eisner, has provided valuable insight into their lives and natural history.

Further Reading and Resources

To learn more about Net-winged beetles, their fascinating features, characteristics and behaviors you may be interested in these resources:

  • The University of Florida Entomology Department provides information about the Banded net-winged beetle, including their appearance, life cycle, and habitat.
  • For an in-depth look at the defensive mechanisms of these beetles, read about how net-winged beetles use brilliant color and noxious odor for protection against predators.
  • The Reticulated Net-winged Beetle article from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Field Station discusses the impressive wing patterns of this family of beetles.
  • If you are curious about beetles as a whole, the Texas A&M University’s What are beetles? article offers general information on their characteristics and diversity.
  • Finally, for information on an endangered beetle species, you can find details about the American Burying Beetle’s biology, conservation efforts, and status at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

A comparison of Net-winged beetles and other beetle families based on features, habits, and appearance may help you understand their uniqueness:

Feature Net-winged beetles Other beetle families
Body length 8-15 mm Varies greatly
Wing covers Often brightly colored, patterned Hardened, range in colors and patterns
Antennae Thick antennae Varies in thickness and length
Defensive mechanisms Coloration, warning signals, and odors Varies; e.g., chemical defenses or camouflaging
Habitat Forests, shrubby and wooded areas Diverse habitats, e.g., aquatic, soil, urban
Behavior/Feeding habits Adults feed on plant nectar, pollen, sap Vary, e.g., scavengers, predators, herbivores

Remember to always refer to reputable sources when studying these fascinating insects and kindly refer to specific works cited for accuracy within online articles. Happy learning!


  1. Ask a Biologist 2 3 4
  2. Field Station 2 3 4
  3. Entnemdept – UF 2
  5. Eisner, Thomas. “Secret Weapons: Defenses of Insects, Spiders, Scorpions, and Other Many-Legged Creatures.” Harvard University Press, 2005.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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19 Comments. Leave new

  • Julian Donahue
    March 19, 2013 4:22 pm

    The Lepidopterists’ Society DOES do Facebook, and would be delighted to have Insect News Network follow us:

    • Hi Julian,
      While What’s That Bug? does have a Facebook presence, we reserve it for our readership to share things among themselves while our editorial staff maintains strict control over the content on our website.

  • is it deadly ???!!!! i must know

  • Samantha Koch
    July 31, 2015 1:31 pm

    We found one today near our garden. So they are in Eastern Pennsylvania, too.

  • I have these in my yard as well. It is interesting that you mention mimicking wasps….when they land they pump their wing covers like wasps and hornets do

  • Hello, I just found these on my raspberry bushes. Are they a post that will do damage to the plants and fruit?

  • Hello, I was also wondering about possible damage to crops. I found one or two in the beginning of the week and there are now at least a dozen scattered across my garden mostly on my squash plants. No matter where I look I cant find a definitive answer on whether or not they are beneficial.

    • Though we don’t know why your squash plants are attracting Banded Net-Wing Beetles, we can relay that on the genus page on BugGuide, it states: “adults take nectar; larvae prey on small arthropods under bark” which would imply that this is a beneficial species.

  • I can’t believe that two clicks in, I found a picture of the bug that visited me last evening, the Banded Net-Winged Beetle. I played with him (or her) for a while and then put him on a hibiscus. He was very beautiful and friendly (-: I had never seen this insect before last night.

    Thank you for your wonderful website.


  • I can’t believe that two clicks in, I found a picture of the bug that visited me last evening, the Banded Net-Winged Beetle. I played with him (or her) for a while and then put him on a hibiscus. He was very beautiful and friendly (-: I had never seen this insect before last night.

    Thank you for your wonderful website.


  • Don’t have a picture but from your pictures I ID it to be a Banded Net-Wing Beetle. Very pretty! The beetle was sitting still on one of the upper Leaves of my raspberry bushes. I don’t remember
    seeing one before., Assonet, MA

  • Don’t have a picture but from your pictures I ID it to be a Banded Net-Wing Beetle. Very pretty! The beetle was sitting still on one of the upper Leaves of my raspberry bushes. I don’t remember
    seeing one before., Assonet, MA

  • Judith Paulos
    August 18, 2017 10:41 am

    I observed one of these on some damp leaves & plants in my backyard today at approximately 1:30pm ET, 8/18/17. Arlington, VA

  • Hey I live in Costa Rica and I have seen this bug at my school! I am using it for a project and the bug looks identical to it!

  • What a unique beetle! And the perfect color red for a Christmas tree!

  • Koreen Brennan
    December 14, 2019 7:21 pm

    Just saw one of these on our farm in Central Florida, Dec 12, 2019. On a passionflower plant. First one we’ve seen here (four years in).

  • No one sends to agree whether this creature is a garden invader, or welcome guest. Guess we need to experiment? Put it near your aphids and see what follows!


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