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Fall Fund Drive

DRAFT: Lycid mimicry complex in eastern North America

There seems to be a mimicry complex in eastern North America based on the pattern of dark-winged beetles with orange heads or pronotal regions. All seem to fly rather slowly, with elytra or other parts spread prominently. The Lycidae are known to be toxic--see Eisner, For the Love of Insects, for instance. (ref:TBA) Other groups may be toxic as well, thus Mullerian mimics, or quite edible, thus Batesian mimics. Eric Eaton has mentioned that Lampyridae are also generally toxic, so some of these may mimic Fireflies instead of, or in addition to, Lycids. Some members of this complex might include:

Lycidae, the presumptive models.
Examples are Plateros?, Eropterus, Celetes?:

Chrysomelidae (Leaf Beetles), such as:
Chlaepus/Odontota scapularis

Lucidota, a firefly:

Quite diurnal, and I often mistake it for a Lycid when I see it flying.

Harrisina, a moth:

Perhaps Rhamphomyia, a Dance fly with red eyes:

This flies with widened hind-legs spread out. This is supposed to be a sexual signal, but perhaps it provides some protection via mimicry of toxic beetles as well.

Surely there must be others. Comments?

Chariessa pilosa
Chariessa pilosa

How about Elytroleptus

Here are a few that may count (sorry if they were already covered)

Another cerambycid
Lycochoriolaus lateralis (Olivier) .

This is definitely a mimic. I've observed them flying with lycids (genus Plateros) in Florida and the resemblance is remarkable. But not all red-and-black insects will be lycid mimics. The carabids shown here are examples, since they do not occur with lycids it is unlikely they are mimics of lycids.

A couple more
Did we forget Plecia or Arge?

Lebia sp.?
Could this also be held applicable to some of the carabid beetles of the genus Lebia?

Lycidae and Lampyridae.
I suspect that a few of these at least are firefly mimics rather than netwinged beetle mimics. Fireflies do the reflex bleeding thing, I believe. Would be interesting to know just how the MODELS are related (fireflies and lycids), both chemically and ecologically, to see if that helps sort out the mimics:-)

A buprestid also?

And now a click beetle joins this growing list.

Cantharidae, Oedemeridae, Rhipiphoridae, Bombardier beetles.
We have to remember that Cantharidae of several genera are also black with red heads and they are noxious, so they may also be models.
There are false blister beetles, similar enough to fool some of us at first sight. See Asclera ruficollis

Some wedge-shaped beetles also have this color pattern, for instance Macrosiagon limbata

There are also bombardier beetles with similar color pattern, and they are definitely models with such powerful weapon. See Brachinus

The list keeps getting longer, it is in fact a large complex.

Something else...
Mimics of blister beetles include the obvious Garelita beetles (false bombardier beetles).

Another point is some blister beetles (family Meloidae) have similar color patterns. Another model for mimicry?

A longhorn
I was out walking on Father's day and came across what at first glance looked like a firefly, but actually turned out to be a longhorned beetle that was obviously a mimic. I didn't get a photo, but a quick check through Yanega might spot it, and maybe it's already posted here. I'm away from home right now or I'd do it, but I wanted to mention it anyway.

Here's a longhorn

And don't forget
Lycomorpha pholus, the name says it all.

a dead ringer for Calopteron

And then there is Cisseps fulvicolis, a moth that looks very much like Harrisina. Perhaps both are mimics of Lycid beetles.

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