Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Orange and Black Beetles

Okay, since it's Halloween, I thought I'd get into the "spirit" of things (yep, I know, awful pun....) and write about something orange and black--but it has nothing to do with pumpkins or black cats.  Instead, here are some photos of a delightful little orange and black beetle I found on some black-eyed Susan flowers in September:
I believe it's a type of soldier beetle--I'm pretty sure this one is a goldenrod soldier beetle, also called a "Pennsylvania leatherwing" (Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus.)  They're about an inch long and on the day I photographed them, there were lots of them busily flitting about the flowers--I caught this photo as the beetle was taking off from a flower--notice the membranous underwings.  Adult beetles eat pollen and drink nectar from flowers.  If you look closely, you can see some bright yellow pollen its face::
In this profile, you can see its black and yellow abdomen.  Though superficially these beetles resemble fireflies, they don't have any light-producing organs in their abdomen:
I'm a big fan of beetles--they've fascinated me since I was a kid.  I'll try to feature more beetles in later blogs.  But, that's all for now.  More "off the beaten path in two weeks."  Until then, Happy Halloween!

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