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Margined Leatherwing Beetle (Chauliognathus marginatus)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Margined Leatherwing Beetle



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Image Credit: Kirstin K. taken in Konza Prairie Biological Station, KS
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Image Credit: Kirstin K. taken in Konza Prairie Biological Station, KS
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A firefly mimic, the Margined Leatherwing Beetle is a springtime pollinator and its larvae are voracious predators.



Updated: 08/23/2019; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Margined Leatherwing Beetle is similar in appearance to its relative, the Pennsylvania Leatherwing, though the latter is active in autumn, not spring. The Margined Leatherwing has more black on its pronotum ('shoulders') which bleeds onto the head, splitting as it approaches the eyes. The size of the black patches on the elytra vary per individual with some looking completely dark while others have contained ovals. The texture, flexibility, and sheen of the elytra resembles leather, hence the common name. This beetle species is shaped like a Firefly, though it is not one. It does not have bioluminescence.

Margined Leatherwings are a type of Soldier Beetle. Adults can be found in the spring on the blossoms of a variety of flowers such as hydrangea, linden, New Jersey tea, and tree of heaven. They roam into and out of blossoms, inadvertently covering themselves in pollen. This makes them great pollinators in gardens, fields, and meadows. Females lay fertilized eggs in the soil near plants. Larvae hatch and prey on other insects. Their large consumption of pest insects makes them a benefit to gardeners.

A soil fungus is known to attack this insect as an adult. Parasitic in nature, the fungus feeds on the internal body parts of the insect, eventually attacking the brain. Dead Margined Leatherwing Beetles have been found attached to leaves by their jaws. The fungus is believed to spread its spores out of the beetles' bodies in order to reproduce itself.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Cantharidae
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          Genus: Chauliognathus
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            Species: marginatus
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Chauliognathus marginatus
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 12mm (0.35" to 0.47")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange, black
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 9mm and 12mm
Lo: 9mm
Md: 10.5mm
Hi: 12mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
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Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Margined Leatherwing Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Margined Leatherwing Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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