The Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

Goldenrod soldier beetle

Goldenrod soldier beetle

The Goldenrod Soldier Beetle Chauliognathus pensylvanicus is a common sight on goldenrod and other fall flowers in Indiana. These beetles spend much of their time mating or feeding on pollen in plain sight during the day. The yellow and black warning colors suggest toxicity or unpalatability.

A group of scientists* investigated the chemical defenses of these beetles. There are 9 pairs of defensive glands that secrete droplets of fluid when the beetles are disturbed. The droplets contain Z-dihydromatricaria acid a substance that is deterrent to spiders and other common predators. A robust anti-predator defense allows the beetles to spend more time feeding and mating and less time running and hiding.

* Eisner, Thomas; Hill, David; Goetz, Michael; Jain, Subhash; Alsop, David; Camazine, Scott. 1981. Antifeedant action ofZ-dihydromatricaria acid from soldier beetles. Journal of Chemical Ecology. 7:1149-1158.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00987634

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

  1. Pingback: The Goldenrod Soldier Beetle | Entomo Planet

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