I have noticed a new beetle this year. It is quite distinctive because of its colour and it has an unusual flight. They almost look like little helicopters as they hover. The Calopteron reticulatum or Banded Net-wing Beetle is found in moist woods and meadows and feed on juices of decaying plant matter, so it is not surprising that I have seen a number of these at the cottage. The larvae prey on small insects and mites under bark. The eggs are deposited on the bark of dying and dead trees.
The adult males are about half the size of the females, which you can you can clearly see here. I actually didn’t notice that there were two at first because the male sort of blended in with the pattern of the female.
These beetles have three pairs of wings, but one set are a non-functional wing cover that they hold out of the way while the hind wings do all the work. These have quite a unique pattern of raised ridges that run the length of the wing. It is from this pattern on the wings that look like nets that the insect gets its common name, along with the bands of colour on the wings. The orange colour is to warn predators of their foul taste. Studies have shown that most birds will avoid eating Net-winged beetles, however, Blue Jays didn’t seem to mind eating them.
I am really enjoying watching them. They don’t seem to mind me being close to them and when I rescued one that was sitting on the step and in danger of being trodden on, it seemed quite happy to hang out on my finger.