Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Native Species Profile - Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle - a bee/wasp mimic, note the yellow and black striped abdomen

In late summer and early fall it is common to see dozens of bees gathered on goldenrods, asters, and other prairie plants.  If you look closely you might discover that not all of the "bees" are really bees.  Many are mimics that use the aposematic coloring (warning colors) of bees or wasps to deter predators from attacking them.  One of the more common bee mimics that can be found in Mid-Michigan is the Goldenrod Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus).

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle - note the dark spots on each elytra and the pronotum

The Goldenrod Soldier Beetle is a mid-sized beetle for Mid-Michigan, measuring about 1/2 inch in length.  It is yellow and black in color with prominent black stripes on its abdomen, a black spot on each elytra (leathery outer wings), and a black spot on the pronotum (plate covering the upper surface of its thorax).

This species is typically found in mid- to late summer and fall.  Adults are usually found on goldenrods and other flowering plants where they feed on nectar and pollen.  Look for them them along roadsides, in parks, old fields, meadows, and prairies.

Basic Information

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle
Chauliognathus pensylvanicus
Size: up to 1/2" long

Habitat:  prairies, meadows, old fields, roadsides, parks
Eats:  adults eat nectar and pollen; larvae eat insect eggs and larvae

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