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Beetles in the family Cantharidae are referred to as soldier beetles or leatherwings. The name soldier beetle originates from the elytra (front wings) of one of the earliest described species being reminiscent of early uniforms of British soldiers. The latter name was coined for the soft nature of the elytra. Two species in the genus Chauliognathus are commonly found in Virginia. Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus (Fig 1) is often referred to as the Pennsylvania leatherwing, or the goldenrod soldier beetle referring to its favorite flowering plant in the fall. A similar species Chauliognathus marginatus, the margined leatherwing, is found in the spring on various flowers.
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Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
December 10, 2013