two-lined leatherwing

(Atalantycha bilineata)

Conservation Status
two-lined leatherwing
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

not listed

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Two-lined leatherwing is a common, small, soldier beetle that resembles a firefly. It occurs in the United States from the east coast west to the Great Plains and in adjacent Canadian provinces. It is less common in Minnesota, where it is at the northern and western extent of its range. It is the first soldier beetle to emerge in the spring. It is found on the foliage and flowers of low plants during the day.

Adults are soft-bodied, elongate, somewhat flattened, and ¼ to long. The black and red colors of the adult warn potential predators of their bad taste.

The head is black and is not completely concealed. The antennae are long, slender, and thread-like, and have 11 segments. The first segment is reddish-orange, the remainder is black. The third segment is longer than the second.

The exoskeletal plate covering the thorax (pronotum) is wider than long, widest at the base, and narrowed in front. It is broadly rounded across at the front and partially conceals the head. The margins are broadly flattened and sharp. There is a distinct impression in the middle. The surface is dull, roughly punctured, and reddish-orange. There are two broad black spots which are sometimes elongated, giving this species its common name.

The wing covers (elytra) are black, parallel-sided, leathery, and flexible. They are sometimes long enough to cover all of the abdomen, sometimes they leave the tip of the abdomen exposed. The margins are narrowly flattened and pale. The plate between the wing bases (scutellum) is well developed and visible but small. It may be reddish-orange or black.

The legs are long and slender. The third segment (femur) of each leg is mostly reddish-orange but dark at the very tip. The fourth segment (tibia) and the end part of each leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, are entirely dark. The tarsus has 5 segments. The fourth tarsal segment is lobed on the underside. There is a pair of claws at the end of each tarsus. Only the outer claw is toothed.

The head, pronotum, elytra, and legs are moderately covered with short, pale hairs.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: ¼ to

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  The two dark,sometimes elongated spots on the pronotum are unique to this species.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Forested areas

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

April and May

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active during the day and are attracted to light at night. When disturbed, they will pull in their legs and drop to the ground.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

Mating can last for days. During that time, according to an entomologist at BugGuide.net, the female drags around the male, who appears “unable or unwilling to let go”.

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

Possibly rotting wood

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower pollen and nectar

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30.

 
  1/17/2019      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common in eastern United States, uncommon in Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Coleoptera (beetles)  
 

Suborder

Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf and snout beetles)  
 

Infraorder

Elateriformia  
 

Superfamily

Elateroidea (click, firefly and soldier beetles)  
 

Family

Cantharidae (soldier beetles)  
 

Subfamily

Cantharinae  
 

Tribe

Cantharini  
 

Genus

Atalantycha  
       
 

This species was formerly placed in the genus Ancistronycha. In 2005, it was transferred to the new genus Atalantycha based on the pronotum, tarsal claws, and genitalia.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Ancistronycha bilineata

Cantharis bilineata

Cantharis bilineatus

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

two-lined cantharid

two-lined leatherwing

 
       
 

One of the first beetles in the family Cantharidae has colors reminiscent of British redcoats, leading to the common name for the family, “soldier beetle.”

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Elytra

The hardened or leathery forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs.

 

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot).

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Alfredo Colon

 
    two-lined leatherwing   two-lined leatherwing  
           
 
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  Alfredo Colon
8/20/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

two-lined leatherwing  
  Alfredo Colon
7/15/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

two-lined leatherwing  
           
 
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Created: 1/17/2019

Last Updated:

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