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Two-lined Leather-wing Beetle (Atalantycha bilineata)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Two-lined Leather-wing Beetle

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Two-lined Leather-wing Beetles are fine firefly mimics, but they are really soldiers at heart.

Updated: 02/16/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
A black elytra and an orange thorax give this beetle a resemblance to a variety of fireflies. The most obvious physical difference is the presence of two black lines or spots on that orange thorax instead of one central spot seen in virtually every kind of firefly. The orange head has black eyes and a black line between them. Its satiny black elytra are soft and flexible, not stiff like other types of beetles, so it is often referred to as a leather-wing. The Two-lined Leather-wing is a member of the Soldier Beetle family and does not light up.

Like most Soldier Beetles, it eats other insects, but is also a great pollinator. Look for adults on the flowers of viburnum shrubs like red haw. There they hunt for meals while also spreading pollen. Soldier Beetles also have a chemical defense when threatened. Glands by the rear end can secrete cantharidin, a substance that can cause blisters. Most adults are found in hardwood forests where mating occurs and fertilized eggs are laid on or near decaying wood. Two-lined Leather-wings are great garden friends that are best left alone to do their duty.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Burning icon
Flying insect icon
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Cantharidae
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          Genus: Atalantycha
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            Species: bilineata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Atalantycha bilineata
Other Name(s): Two-lined Cantharid
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 6mm to 9mm (0.23" to 0.35")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; orange; red
Descriptors: flying; twin black spots; two dots; firefly; pollinator; beneficial; blister

Two-Lined-Leather-Wing-Beetle Video(s)

A Two-lined Leather-wing Beetle walking around.

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 6mm (0.2in) and 9mm (0.4in)
Lo: 6mm
Md: 7.5mm
Hi: 9mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Two-lined Leather-wing 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 Two-lined Leather-wing Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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