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
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
|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:
|10 to 15 mm
|Orange and black
|Orange with black bands
|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:
|Trees, leaf litter, vegetation
|North America, Europe
|Decaying wood, forested areas
|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:
|Nectar & Pollen
|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.
The life cycle of a net-winged beetle goes through complete metamorphosis, consisting of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult1.
- The first stage in the beetle’s life cycle
- Duration of 7 to 10 days1
- Second stage in the beetle’s life cycle
- Features soft body and thick antennae2
- Third stage before becoming an adult
- Transformation from larva to adult happens here
- Final stage, where beetle has developed wings
- Males are smaller than females3
|7 to 10 days
|First stage, beetle in egg form
|Soft body, thick antennae
|Transformation to adult happens
|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:
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.
|Pyromorpha & Lycomorpha
|Interaction with fungi
|Feed on fungal spores
|Relation with predators
|Possible with fungi
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:
|Orange and black
|Orange and black
|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:
|Other beetle families
|Often brightly colored, patterned
|Hardened, range in colors and patterns
|Varies in thickness and length
|Coloration, warning signals, and odors
|Varies; e.g., chemical defenses or camouflaging
|Forests, shrubby and wooded areas
|Diverse habitats, e.g., aquatic, soil, urban
|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!
Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.
Letter 1 – Banded Net-Wing Beetle
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.
Letter 2 – Net-Winged Beetle from South Africa
Subject: Back and yellow bug
Geographic location of the bug: South Africa
Time: 02:36 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi,
What bug is this, it is currently summer here and it is everywhere on my plants. But does not seem to eat the plants though..
How you want your letter signed: Hanri
This is a Net-Winged Beetle in the family Lycidae, and though it resembles the individuals pictured on Biodiversity Explorer, it is definitely a different species. According to Biodiversity Explorer: “Adults are active by day and occur on various plants and grasses and also feed on nectar. The larvae live in decaying wood and possibly feed on fungi. The orange and black colouration is mimicked by various insects as these animals contain cantharadin and are distasteful to birds and other predators.” Your individual looks exactly like the Hook Winged Net Winged Beetle, Lycus melanurus, pictured on Blue Gnu, a species also pictured on iNaturalist.
Letter 3 – Golden Net-Wing Beetle
Subject: insect ID
March 6, 2011 11:16 am
insect found today today in tidewater Virginia, is it a milkweed insect?
This is a positively gorgeous photo is a beetle, the Golden Net-Wing, Dictyoptera aurora. According to BugGuide, they are: “Typically seen early spring. May (Minnesota). North Carolina: March-April (June in mountains), and sometimes September, December.” BugGuide also question: “Larvae are predators under bark (2). Active in early spring, adults often found on rotting logs. Adults overwinter?” Net Winges Beetles are closely related to Fireflies and Soldier Beetles.
Letter 4 – Red Net-Winged Beetle
Subject: Is this a black-headed cardinal beetle?
Geographic location of the bug: Central Virginia, USA
Time: 02:37 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello! I saw this tiny beetle on a fence post the other day, and tried to identify it. It looks like a black-headed cardinal beetle, but they only seem to be found in the UK. I couldn’t find it in the Virginia bug guides. Thanks in advance!
How you want your letter signed: Nina Eagle
This is Dictyoptera aurora which is pictured on BugGuide and commonly called a Golden Net-Winged Beetle or Red Net-Winged Beetle. According to BugGuide, the habitat is “coniferous/mixed forests, in decaying logs; adults on and under bark of decaying stumps and on tree trunks; also on flowers.”
Letter 5 – Trilobite Beetle from Malaysia
Subject: Crawling Orange and Black insect on Forest floor
Location: Tioman Island, Malaysia
August 8, 2012 3:38 pm
I have been trying to figure out what this thing is for close to 6 months now.
Its got a tiny head, a wide flat black body at the front with orange/red tips and then the segments get smaller after the first 3. Its legs are tucked in toward the center line of the body.
Found it hiking on the island of Tioman in Malaysia
heres a link
couldnt find a smaller link.
This unusual creature is known as a Trilobite Beetle, Duliticola hoiseni, and we first posted an image of this interesting beetle back in 2006. At that time Eric Eaton wrote in: “The firefly larva from Thailand is actually an ADULT female Demosis species of net-winged beetle (family Lycidae). They are known commonly as trilobite beetles.” There is now more information online for this fascinating creature, including these great images on Animals, Animals, Animals. There is a wealth of information but no images on Animal Diversity Web, including this physical description: “Duliticola hoiseni is an exceedingly segmented creature with a very small head that retracts into the prothorax. The prothorax is a triangular segment that has two small tubercles protruding from the front of the segment near the area where the head extends. Two larger tubercles are near the back of the prothorax segment. The extendable head of the trilobite beetle has very small eyes which sit behind two-jointed antennae. The segment behind the prothorax, the mesothorax, is much wider than the first segment, with four large tear-drop shaped tubercles situated in the middle and a pair of smaller ones near the rear. The next segment, the metathorax, is much like the mesothorax, with the addition of a straight, swept back posterior edge. The nine-segmented abdomen is covered in cylindrical abdominal processes, which originate from the rear of each segment and angle back and upwards. Mature females are yellowish-white, whereas the males and immature females are generally a dark brown color with cinnamon colored processes. The average size of this insect is between 35 mm and 45 mm. (Lok, 2008)”
Letter 6 – Banded Net-Wing
I can’t find out what kind of bug this is. My kids and I came across this strange bug today. I have tried to look it up, but can’t find it anywhere. Can you please help identify it? Your help would be gratefully appreciated!
Leslie and kids
Hi Leslie and kids,
We really wish your photos of a Banded Net-Wing, Calopteron reticulatum, were clearer. Though it looks like a moth, this is actually a beetle in the family Lycidae. It is found in moist woods and meadows where it feeds on juices from decaying plant matter.
Letter 7 – Banded Net-Wing
Subject: Soldier Beetle?
July 27, 2016 4:51 am
We just had a large hatch of these, and hope that they are not enemies of my garden.
Signature: Farmer Bob
Dear Farmer Bob,
We just finished posting an especially lurid image of a group of Banded Net-Wing beetles, also from Massachusetts. According to the genus page on BugGuide: “adults take nectar; larvae prey on small arthropods under bark” which would make them a beneficial species in your garden.
I found a similar lurid scene atop my car this morning.
Letter 8 – Banded Net Wing Beetle
Orange and blue fly
March 28, 2010
Orange and blue fly
I saw a few of these flying around in the Econlockhatchee River area in Central Florida yesterday. Any idea what it is? Thanks!
Though it looks more like a moth, the Banded Net Wing is actually a beetle. BugGuide indicates that the species, Calopteron reticulatum, may be seen as early as March in Florida.
Letter 9 – Banded Net Wing Beetle
Subject: Net-Wing Beetle
Location: Oak Openings Region, Ohio
August 16, 2014 4:02 pm
Hello! Found this cute little guy today, thought I’d share.
Thanks for thinking of us. We haven’t posted a new image of a Banded Net-Wing Beetle since last September.
Letter 10 – Banded Net-Winged Beetle
Geographic location of the bug: Logan County, KY
Time: 07:01 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Interesting beetle on a passionflower leaf around 9:30 am
How you want your letter signed: Cindy Gupton
We are impressed that you identified this Banded Net-Winged Beetle as a Beetle because it is frequently mistaken for a moth.
Letter 11 – Banded Net-Winged Beetle mating frenzy
Subject: What beetle
Location: Central MA
July 27, 2016 4:11 am
A friend thinks a costa Rican beetle I think they were showing off
Signature: Inazuma Hiro
In a sense, you and your friend are both correct. These are Banded Net-Wing beetles, Calopteron reticulatum, and based on this Alamy image, the species ranges as far south as at least Costa Rica. You image depicts quite a mating frenzy.
Letter 12 – Banded Net-Winged Beetle
Do you know what this is?
This is a Banded Net-Winged Beetle, Calopteron reticulatum.
Letter 13 – Banded Netwing Beetles Mating
Banded Netwing Beetles
Now I’m pretty sure I have identified these correct as Banded Netwing Beetles, but what I’m wondering is what’s up with the ménage à trois? At least that’s what I thought at first, but upon closer inspection, it seems as if the third one (on the right) is dead? (maybe?) The location is Lakeview, MI. It’s just north of Greenville. Thanks again! I have a few more I will be sending, ones I need help identifying 🙂
We don’t believe the “third wheel” Banded Netwing Beetle is dead, just waiting on the sidelines. Competition for a desireable mate is as fierce in the insect world as it is among humans.
Letter 14 – End Band Netwing Beetle
End Band Net-Wing Beetle
Location: North Middle Tennessee
August 17, 2010 7:08 pm
This fellow came to my ”bug fly-in” this morning. After searching around the internet I think I have an ID from bug guide. I believe it is an End Band Net-Wing Beetle (Calopteron terminale) I noticed you do not have one of these on your website. (Not exactly like this one anyway) I don’t think I ever saw one of these before today, but that was probably because I wasn’t looking. Thanks and have a great day.
Thank you so much for adding to our archives with this under-represented species, the End Band Netwing Beetle, Calopteron terminale. We were, however, disturbed that you indicated we had none in our archive, so we searched and found this old posting from 2008 of Mating End Band Netwing Beetles. At the end of summer that year, we did a major site migration and an overhaul of the methods we had previously used to make postings. Our awesome web master, Daniel, transferred the entire archives and set up a system for organizing various categories and subcategories, but much work remained. Our categorizations got much more specific after that, but the older archives are still categorized in a more general way. They are in disarray. Because of your letter, we have identified significantly more Netwing Beetles from the archive than the seven postings that were in that subcategory this morning. We should really allot more time to cleaning up our archives, but we spend so much time trying to post all of the fabulous new submissions we receive that we have, except in a few cases, left the archives in their jumbled form. It is always best to try to use our search engine to locate items from our more disorganized early history.
Letter 15 – End Band Netwing Beetles Mating
Bug with orange and metallic blue wings
I have another strange insect we can’t identify. My husband took this picture in Sept 2006 of this bug on the leaf of an iris. I tired to find this one on the web and did not have much luck. I figured with such beautiful and distinctive wings that it would be easy, but I don’t even what basic type of bug this is. Thank you for your help.
Judging by the number of visible wings, there is a second End Band Netwing Beetle, Calopteron terminale, hidden behind the visible one. We can only deduce that they are in the process of mating, or attempting to mate. You shouldn’t feel badly that you couldn’t identify them, since Netwing Beetles resemble moths more than typical beetles.
Letter 16 – Golden Netwing Beetle
Found this beatle in the mountains of Idaho. Is this a fire bug? I thought red was usually a warning so we didn’t get too acquainted. Can you help me identify it??
Despite being red, this is a Golden Netwing Beetle, Dictyopterus aurora. It is found in much of North America, in woodlands with decaying logs.
Letter 17 – Golden Netwing Beetle
Bright red bug, possibly beetle of some sort?
May 17, 2010
I was hiking in the forest today (may 26 2010), it was a hot sunny day, and came accross this pretty little red bug on a log.It had a red body and head with a black slit down the middle, about 4 red legs, and two long black antennas. I thought it might be some sort of beetle but it could also be a flying bug of some sort as well ? Could you please help me out with this 🙂
Though your photo is quite blurry, this is surely a Golden Netwing Beetle, Sictyopterus aurora.
Letter 18 – Guess What’s Coming to Breakfast: Banded Net Wing Beetle
Subject: Orange and black guest just flew in
Location: Greenbelt MD
September 4, 2013 6:04 am
The star of our outdoor breakfast table this fine September morn in Greenbelt MD… About one inch from tip to stern. Alit on our milk carton but allowed himself to be coaxed to a placemat. Flitted off after a minute to inspect the hedges after permitting a lovely photo op. To whom do we owe the pleasure?
Signature: Jeanne McLaughlin
Though it resembles a moth more than a beetle, this is actually a Banded Net Wing Beetle, Calopteron reticulatum. According to BugGuide: “Adults take nectar, other plant juices” so it might have been attracted to that cranberry juice drink you were serving.
Letter 19 – Insect News Network
From a Facebook Fan
Ed. Note: The Bugman does not do Facebook, but thankfully, our webmaster does keep track of Facebook postings and this letter was forwarded to us through our private email. Alas, the early morning hours when we do most of our postings is not the ideal time for returning business calls.
March 14, 2013
Hi Whats That Bug,
I am a big fan of your site! I read it pretty much everyday and have actually had one of my questions answered from you guys.
I am a field correspondent for the Insect News Network (INN). I work as an intern with Emmet Brady, the creator and host of the radio show and multimedia enterprise, which takes our audience “into the world of insects beyond the creepy and the crawly, to the fun, the fascinating, the profound and even the sublime.”
On the INN, we explore the microcosm through the lens of Cultural Entomology, which examines the parallels, connections and influences between humans and insects. We examine the world of the insects, spiders and other arthropods, on 3 platforms: the practical, the compelling and the sublime.
Our tagline is “It’s Not Just About Bugs . . . It’s About Us.” We build the bridge between Sciences, the Arts and the Humanities and examine the influence between the human culture and the world of 6-, 8- and multi-legged animals. We focus on people as much as we do the insects.
The INN has over 60 radio broadcasts (each with an accompanying 3-Mintue Insect Essential [a preview]) and more than 50 videos filmed around the country.
Here are a couple of examples:
INN #50 – WHAT IS 2012 THE BUG OF THE YEAR?
3-Minute Insect Essential: http://www.facebook.com/l/NAQFALQOhAQEdQhalZJlQH0QKVYWQ02zZbYBrZcyxHual9Q/audioboo.fm/boos/1200227-3-minute-insect-essential-50-from-the-insect-news-network
(Edited for spatial consideration)
I would welcome the chance to share future posts with you. I believe you will find them engaging and worthy of sharing with your audience as well.
Please feel free to contact me directly with any questions or comments. Perhaps in the future we might even be able to interview you on the show?
Let’s all spread the buzz . . .
Letter 20 – Long-Nosed Lycid Beetle
Long Nose Lycid Beetle
Location: Queensland Australia
November 15, 2011 8:18 am
Hi bugman, been a while since i sent you anything. I have went to Australia since my last submission.
What we have here is the Porrostoma rhipidium – Long nose Lycid Beetle. He is a very docile and somewhat curious critter. He crawled around on me while i took many shots.. then as I let him go, he landed beside of me and continued hanging around in the yard for another entire day.
Thanks so much for sending us this marvelous submission. The Brisbane Insect Websitehas many excellent images of this species. Members of the family Lycidae are commonly called Net-Winged Beetles and they are somewhat unusual in that they have soft elytra, unlike most beetles. Now that winter is approaching in the northern hemisphere, we are expecting a surge in submissions from Australia if our typical annual cycle remains unchanged.
Letter 21 – Mating Banded Net-Winged Beetles
Location: Atlantic county NJ
August 12, 2016 1:42 pm
Hello, I love in southern new Jersey by the shore. I keep finding more and more of these bugs on my raspberry bushes. I can’t seem to find them online and I don’t know if they’re beneficial or otherwise. Can you help?
You do not need to fret about the health of your raspberry bushes because of these Banded Net-Winged Beetles, Calopteron reticulatum, because according to the genus page on BugGuide: “adults take nectar; larvae prey on small arthropods under bark.” According to Featured Creatures, the Banded Net-Winged Beetle is: “commonly found resting on vegetation in moist woods throughout much of the eastern United States.”
Letter 22 – Mating Banded Netwing Beetles
Not a Large Milkweed Bug – what is it
Hi … I think I may have found something new for you. Found this pair of bugs mating on a rock. Looked through your website and it comes closest to the Large Milkweed Bug (LMB). However, look carefully at the segmented antennae. After the base, there are 9 segments on these bugs, whereas the LMB has only 3. Also, the face is black, whereas the LMB’s face is orange. And the backs are somewhat like ‘corduroy’, whereas the LMB has an ‘X’ in the center. Lastly, the size is different. I believe LMB’s are about 1/2″ long, whereas the body of the larger one I captured was about 1″ long. What’s that bug?
These are mating Banded Netwing Beetles, Calopteron reticulatum. They are often mistaken for moths.
Letter 23 – Mating Banded Netwing Beetles
Bug love: Calopteron (reticulatum?)
These were in the garden a couple of weeks ago (July 13) here in Chapel Hill, NC. They’re sitting on a black snakeroot, under a maple tree, if that helps. You can decide which photo is the more dynamic!
Thanks for sending us your great photo of mating Banded Netwing Beetles. We often get requests to identify this moth as Netwings are not typically beetle-like.
Letter 24 – Mating Net-Winged Beetle
Please identify these bugs
August 18, 2009
This summer I came across these two bugs and I haven’t been able to identify them. Could you email me info. Thank you.
Ballinger, Texas, June 2009
Though they look mothlike, there are actually beetles. Net-Winged Beetles are in the family Lycidae, and we are relatively certain your specimens are in the genus Lycus. BugGuide has two similar looking species, and we are not certain if your beetles are Lycus arizonensis or Lycus fernandezi. BugGuide also indicates that adults eat nectar and honeydew.
Letter 25 – Banded Net-Wing Beetle
Subject: Orange and blk bug
Location: Long Island, ny
September 4, 2014 6:35 am
Hi bugman, I found a bug in my yard today and am curious to know the type and name of it. I am attaching a photo for you to review.
Thank you for your time,
This beautiful insect, though it looks more like a moth than a beetle, is a Banded Net-Wing Beetle.
Letter 26 – Net Winged Beetle
Subject: Identification of red insect
February 6, 2014 1:42 pm
Neighbor found this insect on her patio. What looks like honeycomb is actually a doormat. To me, it looks like a Lepidoptera (moth) but I can’t see enough of the head to make out the antenna form. Also can’t see the wings on the metathorax. I would appreciate any help or suggestions that you can give me. In the meantime, I will continue to research the internet. Thank you.
Thank you for your prompt response. I continued looking and I now believe that it is a Net Winged beetle. If I had been able to see the head, the antennae would have pointed me to the Coleoptera rather than the Lepidoptera.
“Net-winged beetles (family Lycidae), any of some 2,800 species of soft-bodied, brightly coloured, predominately tropical beetles (insect order Coleoptera) whose wing covers, or elytra, are broader at the tip than at the base and are characterized by a raised network of lines, or veins. The adults feed either on plant juices or on other insects and can easily be seen as they fly slowly between plants or crawl on flowers . The bold colouring of orange and black or blue probably warns predators of their acidic, burning taste. Larvae feed on wet rotting wood and are often found in high numbers.”
We apologize for the delay. For some reason, there was a glitch in our email delivery and submissions were being delayed several days. We agree that this is a Net Winged Beetle in the genus Dictyoptera, and it is most likely the Golden Net Wing, Dictyoptera aurora. Of the four species listed on BugGuide, only two are reported from Alabama, including the Golden Net Winged Beetle. The other, Dictyoptera munda, is represented by a single mounted specimen on BugGuide, but the thorax lacks the dark markings.
Letter 27 – Net-Winged Beetle
Subject: What is this?
Location: Lake Vermilion, northern Minnesota
July 14, 2017 8:10 am
I saw this guy flying and land on a young dogwood shrub yesterday.
Signature: Judy Sonnenberg
This Net-Winged Beetle, Caenia dimidiata, resembles a moth more than it does a typical beetle. According to BugGuide, it “has comb-like antennae, and scutellum is black.”
Very cool! Thanks for the ID! It looked a lot like a firefly when it was in flight, which makes sense since they’re related. I appreciate the info.
Letter 28 – Net-Winged Beetle
Subject: ID of a red bug
Geographic location of the bug: Pt Reyes National Seashore, Marin Co., California
Time: 03:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: We found 3 of these hanging out on Douglas Fir limbs on a very chilly day recently (02/19/2019). They reminded us a little of fireflies in the manner in which they opened their wings, but we thought that they couldn’t be. They have such strange shaped heads with what seems like very ornamental head gear.
How you want your letter signed: Eliezer Margolis and Sunny Balsam
Dear Eliezer and Sunny,
This is a Net-Winged Beetle, Dictyopterus simplicipes, which we identified on BugGuide, and you were astute to recognize the similarity to Fireflies as the two families are closely related.
Letter 29 – Net-Winged Beetle and Eastern Tailed Blue
Net-Winged Beetle and Unknown butterfly
I spotted this Net-winged Beetle (Calopteron reticulatum) in my yard today! Once again, I was able to identify it using your site! I didn’t, however, see any photos of my Mystery Butterfly – thought maybe you could help to identify it? I followed this spastic little thing in my yard for an hour trying to get a good shot of it! I was lucky enough to get this one before it took off again, but was unsuccessful in getting a closed wing shot. The underside of its wings are white, and seemed to have a small black mark near the edge of the lower wing. We are in Southwest Missouri. Thanks for your help!
|Net Winged Beetle
|Eastern Tailed Blue
You did well on the Net-Winged Beetle identification. Few people would have even guessed it was a beetle. The butterfly is a female Eastern Tailed Blue, Everes comyntas. The Western Tailed Blue would be our second guess as the two are difficult to distinguish, but we don’t believe the Western Tailed Blue ranges as far east as Missouri. The caterpillars feed on leguninous plants.
Letter 30 – Net Winged Beetle from Costa Rica
Location: Costa Rica
May 5, 2016 8:20 pm
i found this bug at envision it was love heart shape it was blue and yellow striped and it flies please identify this bug thanks.
Congratulations on recognizing that the Net Winged Beetle in the family Lycidae is actually a Beetle because it is frequently mistaken for a moth. We suspect it might be the North American species Calopteron reticulatum, the Banded Net Winged Beetle which is reported on BugGuide as being from Mexico as well. Insects do not respect international borders.
thank you for replying to my email, I’m so happy i know what it is now.
what a great job you have, i love bugs so much,and I’m living in Costa Rica and i also saw a peanut head moth it was so amazing to see there is so many amazing bugs there thanks.
Letter 31 – Net-winged Beetle from Asia
July 25, 2012 12:35 am
Hi Mr. Bugman maybe you can help me ID this insect. I think this is a net-winged beetle.I’m not so sure though.Hope to hear from you 🙂
Thank you and more power!
Signature: Full name of the entomologist (or the one who did the ID) of the insect
We agree that this is a Net-Winged Beetle. We are not even going to attempt a species identification because Asia is such a large continent.
Letter 32 – Net-winged Beetle from Texas
May 26, 2010
Found this beetle on the flowering part of my italian parsley. Can you identify it?
Jen from texas
You are quite astute to recognize this Net-winged Beetle as a beetle, as many people believe it looks more like a moth. We believe it might be a member of the genus Lycus which BugGuide reports from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
Letter 33 – Net Winged Beetle from Namibia: Lycus trabeatus
Subject: Beetle identification
Location: Caprivi Region, namibia
January 13, 2015 12:53 am
Please identify this bug for me. Found it on the lawn of Camp Chobe Safaris in the Caprivi Region, Namibia.
We identified your Net Winged Beetle in the family Lycidae as Lycus trabeatus on FlickR much faster than we thought we would be able to do. It is also pictured on iSpot. Should you decide you want to commemorate your sighting, you can get this marvelous T-Shirt from latostadora.
Letter 34 – Net-Winged Beetle from Singapore
Subject: red velvety winged bug
November 27, 2013 2:10 am
This bug flew into the office one day and is now our office pet. We have no idea what to feed it. Just trying with wet tissue and yeast paste. Thanks for helping!
This is a Net-Winged Beetle in the family Lycidae, and according to BugGuide: “Adults eat nectar and honeydew. Larvae: Despite anecdotal reports of carnivory, most, if not all, feed on myxomycetes or metabolic products of fungi.” Though you may desire to keep this lovely beetle in captivity, we feel it would be better to release it back into the wild to fend for itself. We are unable to provide a species identification at this time.
Letter 35 – Net-Winged Beetle from Vietnam
Subject: Identify; orchid garden bug
Location: Vietnam, SE Asia
November 16, 2016 11:12 pm
Can you help identify the bug in photo; I am an amateur orchid gardening grower and this is a new species of bug that has appeared.
This is a Net-Winged Beetle in the family Lycidae, and according to Delta: “Lycid adults are commonly seen flying at dusk and may be found in flowers or on foliage. Some adults may be nectar-feeders, but others probably do not feed at all. Larvae occur under bark or in leaf litter; they are liquid feeders, but there is little reliable information on their diet.” According to BugGuide: “Adults eat nectar and honeydew. Larvae: Despite anecdotal reports of carnivory, most, if not all, feed on myxomycetes or metabolic products of fungi.” This beetle will not harm your orchids and the larvae might be living in the bark you use to cultivate the orchids.
Letter 36 – Net-Winged Beetles
Mystery Red Beetle
I found this beetle in Alpine Texas. I’ve searched all my bug books and can’t identify it. Can you help me out?
I love your website! Thanks,
These beauties are Net-Winged Beetles, Lycus sanguineus. Net-Winged Beetles are related to Fireflies.
Letter 37 – Net-Winged Beetles from Sumatra
Subject: Beetle from Sumatra
Location: Gunung Kemiri, Aceh, Sumatra
June 19, 2014 12:11 am
Hello, can You help me with identification of these beetles? It was photopraphed in lower to middle montane rainforest in Gunung Leuser, north Sumatra. Thank You.
Signature: Vojtech Zavadil
Both of your beetles are Net-Winged Beetles in the family Lycidae, and we are pretty confident that they are different species. Your images are both stunning.
Letter 38 – Netwing Beetle
Beetle? in flagstaff, AZ
I’m spending the summer in Flagstaff, AZ and now that the rains have started, there are lot’s of great beetles around. Here’s one (well, I’m not even really sure that it’s a beetle) that I found out in a meadow. Can you guys help me figure out what it is?
We found a match to your Netwing Beetle on BugGuide, and it is a visual match, but it is only identified to the genus level Lycus. That specimen was also found in Arizona.
Letter 39 – Netwing Beetle
Red Beetle identification
I was teaching some orders of aquatic insects along Little River in Van Damme state park (redwood forest; about 1 mile inland from ocean ; Mendocino County) and we saw a red beetle? The texture of the wings very unbeetle like. It was on a thimble berry.
Professor of Biological Sciences
Mendocino Coast Campus
College of the Redwoods
This is one of the Netwing Beetles in the family Lycidae. We believe it is the Golden Netwing Beetle, Dictyopterus aurora. According to BugGuide, it is found over much of North America in the spring. Eric Eaton has added this qualification: ” The golden netwing beetle is definitely in the Dictyopterus genus, but there are several species in the west, so I would hesitate to put a species name to it. Probably not the same one as is found in the eastern U.S. at any rate.”
Letter 40 – Net Winged Beetle
Trying to identify insect
Location: Organ Mountains East of Las Cruces, NM
January 27, 2011 11:41 am
Photographed this insect in the early Spring, in the Organ Mountains, East of Las Cruces, NM. Photo attached. Brilliant red head and thorax. Wings red with black ”tip”. Antennae and legs black.
This little beauty is a Net Winged Beetle in the family Lycidae, and we believe it is Lycus sanguineus which BugGuide reports from Arizona and New Mexico.
Letter 41 – Netwing Beetle from Singapore
Please ID this bug..
Please ID this bug..
February 23, 2011 8:08 pm
Can you ID this insect?
Thanks and regards,
This sure looks like a Net-Winged Beetle in the family Lycidae to us. We absolutely love your rapid series of photos depicting this individual about to take flight.
Letter 42 – Pleasing Fungus Beetle Larvae, or Netwing Beetle Larvae???
Mystery larvae (or pupae?)
Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 7:55 AM
I was visiting one of our local natural areas and I found these dense clusters of insects on the lower stems of several woody plants in a small area. They didn’t move at all when prodded. They were found in a mixed hardwood/pine woods with dense leaf litter on the ground. I haven’t done a lot of research on what these might be, but I’m wondering if this is some sort of beetle?
Alachua County, Florida
We believe these are Netwing Beetle Larvae in the family Lycidae. There is an image on BugGuide that looks quite close. We want to get an opinion from Eric Eaton on this curiosity.
Before you ask:
I suspect that the beetle larvae may be of the pleasing fungus beetle family Erotylidae rather than the net-wing beetles. I could very well be wrong, of course….
Letter 43 – Netwing Beetle Larvae or maybe Fungus Beetle Larvae perhaps???
Herd of bug on tree trunk
I found this herd of bugs at the base of a small tree in Houston, Texas on August 17, 2008. They remind me of praying mantis eggs, but they’re smaller. What are they and what are they doing? Are they hurting my tree? I don’t know if it’s important, but there was this small fly on a blade of grass next to them. Thank you
The detail on your photo is not clear enough to make out individuals, but we suspect these may be Netwing Beetle Larvae, family Lycidae. Luckily, you sent a detail image as well which supports our theory. See this photo of an individual on BugGuide to see if it matches what you have. Netwing Beetle Larvae eat fungus and fungus often grows at the base of trees. If these are Netwing Beetle Larvae, they are not harming your tree, but the tree may already be compromised if fungus is growing.
I’m not sure, either. Probably one of the fungus beetles in the Erotylidae would be my guess. I have seen larvae of Gibbifer californicus in large numbers like this.
Letter 44 – Newly Metamorphosed Net-Winged Beetle
What is this bug?
Location: Wickenburg Arizona
May 24, 2011 8:19 pm
Found this a couple days ago crawling along the wall in the front yard. it’s about an inch+ long – we are located about 60 miles NW of Phoenix Arizona. Medium/High desert – summer will get highs of 105 and some nights below freezing in the winter. I asked my dad who has lived in this area for over 30yrs and he didn’t know what it was either. I just let it go on it’s way but got the photo first.
This is a Net-Winged Beetle. Because of its engorged abdomen and the relatively small size of its wings, we believe it is a freshly metamorphosed individual. The wings will increase in size and harden slightly so that the Net-Winged Beetle will be able to fly. Net-Winged Beetles are frequently confused with moths. We believe your individual is in the genus Lycus based on photos and information posted to BugGuide.
Letter 45 – Net Winged Beetle
Red Bug with red and blue wings
September 16, 2009
Red Bug with red and blue wings
I happened to see this bug in my backyard. I had never seen one of these before and its color caught my attention. I tried to identify this bug by searching through the internet but wasn’t succesful. Can you help?
Aguadilla, Puerto RIco
We believe this is a Net Winged Beetle in the family Lycidae. WE are hoping to get some expert opinion on this and we would advise you to check back on the posting for the next several days to see if there are any updates. Our professional obligations have greatly increased with the beginning of a new academic year and we might not be able to email you any updates directly.
Eric Eaton Agrees
Yes, I agree with the family identification.
Letter 46 – Possibly Banded Net-Wing
Subject: What is this?
Location: Central Florida
February 12, 2015 5:53 pm
I live in central Florida. This bug was on my screen yesterday (02/11/2015). I’ve searched the web but haven’t been able to find any pictures of this bug, I’ve lived here 12 years and have not encountered anything like this in all that time. Please help me to identify this guy!!! Thanks
Your image is very low resolution and quite blurry, but we believe it to be of a Banded Net-Wing Beetle, Calopteron reticulatum. Try comparing what you saw to the images posted to BugGuide.
Thank you so much Daniel!!! That is it!!! My daughter told me that your website would help me and she was so right!
Thank you again!!!! Eileen O’Neil
Letter 47 – Red Net Winged Beetle
Subject: Rust to reddish beetle type bug with black head and antenna.
Geographic location of the bug: Virginia Beach, VA
Your letter to the bugman: Today, February 25, 2018, this small bug was on my husband’s arm in the car. We pulled over and put him out by our house along the woods. I took a few pictures first. Thanks so much.
How you want your letter signed: PamS
This is a Red Net-Winged Beetle or Golden Net-Winged Beetle, Dictyoptera aurora, and according to BugGuide, the habitat is: “coniferous/mixed forests, in decaying logs; adults on and under bark of decaying stumps and on tree trunks; also on flowers.”
You totally rock! Thanks so much! I use your on-line resource so often and really appreciate all you do!!! This one really had me stumped, lol. I save every bug and feed ALL animals, lol. I always take a picture before I rescue these small and sometimes larger miracles! Sometime you should write a book and I would buy it in a second!!! I still love having a hard copy…. You truly are experts!!! Sincerely, PamS
Thank you PamS. Daniel did write The Curious World of Bugs.
Letter 48 – Red Net Winged Beetles Mating
Who are these?
March 24, 2010
I found these in the woods near a creek.
Stokes County, NC
What a lovely image of mating Red Net Winged Beetles, Dictyopterus aurora. You can see additional images on BugGuide.
Wow! Thanks so much for naming my mystery beetle! Do you stay up all night answering people’s emails with crazy bug questions?
We answer letters when we are able. We also sleep when we can, but our schedule is sometimes erratic.
Letter 49 – Trilobite Beetle: Female Netwing Beetle from Thailand
This bug’s identity is bugging us
Dear What’s That Bug – I wonder if you can help me and my daughter, Charlotte, identify the bug in the attached photographs. We live in Phuket, Thailand and these pics were taken in the slightly damp kitchen of my ground floor office building, which backs tightly onto a large area of forested hills. Any ideas? I look forward to your reply.
Simon J Hand
Exotica can sometimes be very difficult. We believe this is a Firefly Larva, or possibly a Netwing Beetle Larva. We will contact Eric Eaton to see what his opinion is. Eric Eaton wrote in: “The firefly larva from Thailand is actually an ADULT female Demosis species of net-winged beetle (family Lycidae). They are known commonly as trilobite beetles. Nice work just getting in the neighborhood on that one!”