Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The amazing Net-winged Beetles

I was at one of my favorite natural areas in Ohio the other day, the always interesting Cedar Bog. If you've not been to this 400+ acre fen, put it on your list. There is never a shortage of fascinating flora and fauna, and this day was no exception.

There were numerous beautiful plants to admire and photograph, such as this Prairie Rattlesnake-root, Prenanthes racemosa, which is an Ohio rarity. Not long after making this photo, a subtle blur of orange and black whirred by, low through the foliage.

A Net-winged Beetle! I love these things. While they may not be great rarities, I don't see that many of them and it's always a treat to stumble into one. We apparently have several species, and this one is Calopteron terminale, and it is the one that I see most often. It seems to fancy itself a lightning bug and wears the colors and patterns of those nighttime bioluminescers. I'd bet they taste bad, as Net-winged Beetles are marked in the classic DANGER color scheme.

"Nothing is known of the egg stage and oviposition site of Calopteron species."

So states a University of Florida website on this beetle genus. There are so many things that we still know so little about, and apparently Net-winged Beetles fall into this camp.
This is a different species, Calopteron reticulatum. It may be even better looking than the one above. Photographed last August in Gallia County, Ohio.

So, next time you are in shady forested haunts, be sure to investigate any lightning bug-like critters that flit past.


Scott said...

Another neat bug post. The "net wing" effect is really much more dramatic in person. It's really easy to see where they got their common name.

Jim McCormac said...

Thank you, Scott. Net-winged Beetles are a bit of a challenge to photograph, because they are usually in deep shade or dappled light.