Soldier beetle found on porch in the morning after leaving the light on overnight.
Large, approximately 15 mm from head to end of elytra, or slightly longer.
Chauliognathus pensylvanicus (Coleoptera: Polyphaga: Elateroidea: Cantharidae: Chauliognathinae). Meadowood Special Recreation Area, Fairfax County, VA 03 September 2012
Chauliognathus pensylvanicus (Coleoptera: Polyphaga: Elateroidea: Cantharidae: Chauliognathinae). South Run trails, Fairfax County, VA 10 September 2012
Mating swarm. Soldier beetles are predators of pest insects, harmless to humans.
The latest insects caught in flagrante. Thanks to urtica for the ID -- they are Goldenrod Soldier Beetles: bugguide.net/node/view/438. Seen in New Brunswick, Canada, on a quick photo mission roadside across from our motel in the AM.
The soldier beetles, Cantharidae, are relatively soft-bodied, straight-sided beetles, related to the Lampyridae or firefly family, but unable to produce light. They are cosmopolitan in distribution. One common British species is bright red, reminding people of the red coats of soldiers, hence the common name. A secondary common name is leatherwing, obtained from the texture of the wing covers.