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Species Chauliognathus pensylvanicus - Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus Goldenrod Soldier Beetle - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus Portrait - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus - male - female goldenrod soldier beetle - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus mating pair - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus - male - female Goldenrod Soldier Beetle - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus Chauliognathus pensylvanicus Chauliognathus sp.? - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
Superfamily Elateroidea (Click, Firefly and Soldier Beetles)
Family Cantharidae (Soldier Beetles)
Subfamily Chauliognathinae
Genus Chauliognathus
Species pensylvanicus (Goldenrod Soldier Beetle)
Other Common Names
Pennsylvania Leatherwing, Goldenrod Leatherwing, Le Cantharide de Pennsylvanie (French)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Chauliognathus pensylvanicus (DeGeer).
Orig. Comb: Telephorus pensylvanicus DeGeer 1774
Syns: pensylvanica, pennsylvanicus, pennsylvanica -spelling. See Remarks.
Explanation of Names
pensylvanicus - Latin for "of Pensylvania".
As noted in the Remarks, the spelling with one n was in common use at the time (de Geer says in the description that the specimen was sent to him from "Pensylvanie"), so the species name based on it can't be corrected under the rules governing scientific names.
9-12 mm
Distinctive, note round spot on pronotum, compared to dash on the similar Margined Leatherwing, which flies earlier in the season. Perhaps the most easily observed Cantharid in eastern/central North America.
... C. marginatus - vs. - C. pennsylvanicus
OK-GA-ME-MN, adj Can (BG data)
Fields with flowers, esp. goldenrod
mostly: Aug-Sept (BG data)
Adult--pollen and nectar of fall flowers, esp. goldenrod (Solidago). Papp (1) states that they feed on "locust eggs, cucumber beetles, and other species of Diabrotica" . It is not clear if this refers to the adult or the larva.
The larvae feed on aphids, maggots, small caterpillars, and grasshopper eggs (Chicago Wilderness).
Life Cycle
Eggs are deposited in soil or leaf litter. Pupation occurs in spring in the soil. Sometimes found dead on flowers, infected with an Entomopathogenic fungus (Carner, 1980; Wheeler, 1988):
According to ICZN code, the intended original spelling of the species name (no matter how bizarre) remains valid unless it later can be shown, for example, that it was the result of some inconsistent typographical error. In many cases it is the later writers who, intentionally or unintentionally, corrupt the original spelling which then becomes erroneously entrenched in the literature. Regarding the usage of "pensylvanicus" in the case of a well-known cantharid beetle, here is an insightful excerpt from an article in The Great Lakes Entomologist Vol 39, No 3 & 4, pp 200-218 by careful researcher Andrew H. Williams of UW-Madison:
"The beetle usually referred to as Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus DeGeer over the past century was first described by DeGeer (1774) as Telephorus pensylvanicus. The spelling "pensylvanicus" was used by LeConte (1869, 1881), Hubbard (1880), Schwarz (1880) and Riley (1880), though Riley (1869, 1872, 1873) had earlier used the spelling "pennsylvanicus". At the time of DeGeer's description, "Pensylvania" was a common and apparently acceptable spelling for the colony, so his original spelling should not be considered incorrect.
The correct name for this beetle is Chauliognathus pensylvanicus (DeGeer)".
… Peter Messer, 8 July, 2008
Print References
Arnett and Jacques #131 (2)
Arnett, p. 209, fig. 501 (3)
Brimley, p. 155 (4)
G. R. Carner, Entomophthora lampyridarum, a fungal pathogen of the soldier beetle, Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus, Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, Volume 36, Issue 3, November 1980, Pages 394-398, ISSN 0022-2011, DOI: 10.1016/0022-2011(80)90044-0.
Dillon, p. 257, plate XXVII #5--compares with C. marginatus (5)
Milne, p. 569, fig. 162 (6)
Papp, p. 90, fig. 281, 282 (1)
Salsbury, p. 197 (7)
A. G. Wheeler, Jr. "Violent Deaths" of Soldier Beetles (Coleoptera: Cantharidae) Revisited: New Records of the Fungal Pathogen Eryniopsis lampyridarum (Zygomycetes: Entomophthoraceae). The Coleopterists Bulletin Vol. 42, No. 3 (Sep., 1988), pp. 233-236. (
White, pp. 184-185, fig. 75 (8)
Internet References
Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire des insectes, Tome/Volume 4, p.78 - de Geer's original species description (in French)
Works Cited
1.Introduction to North American Beetles
Charles S. Papp. 1984. Entomography Pubns.
2.Simon & Schuster's Guide to Insects
Dr. Ross H. Arnett, Dr. Richard L. Jacques. 1981. Fireside.
3.How to Know the Beetles
Ross H. Arnett, N. M. Downie, H. E. Jaques. 1980. Wm. C. Brown Publishers.
4.Insects of North Carolina
C.S. Brimley. 1938. North Carolina Department of Agriculture.
5.A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America
Dillon, Elizabeth S., and Dillon, Lawrence. 1961. Row, Peterson, and Company.
6.National Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and Spiders
Lorus and Margery Milne. 1980. Knopf.
7.Insects in Kansas
Glenn A. Salsbury and Stephan C. White. 2000. Kansas Dept. of Agriculture.
8.Peterson Field Guides: Beetles
Richard E. White. 1983. Houghton Mifflin Company.