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Also known as Leatherwings, these beetles are about 0.5-0.5 inches long and orange in color with black markings.The adults feed on pollen and nectar of fall flowers, especially goldenrod, and also eat locust eggs and cucumber beetles.The larvae feed on aphids, maggots, small caterpillars and grasshopper eggs. Dead soldier beetles are sometimes found on plants with their mandibles embedded in stems or leaf edges after dying from an infection by Eryniopsis lampyridum, a fungal pathogen that also affects other insects. Scientists think that the open wings of the victims increase dispersal of the fungal spores.
Native to North America.