Length: 9-12 mm
The name Leatherwing refers to the soft elytra of members of the Soldier Beetle family. In this trait the Soldier Beetles are similar to the Firefly Beetles, and in fact the two families are closely related. One trait that separates the two is that on Firefly Beetles the pronotum covers the head, while in Soldier Beetles it does not.
Members of the genus Chauliognathus are also present in Australia and New Guinea, suggesting that the genus arose prior to the breakup of the super-continent Gondwana.
Chauliognathus species that live in Canada and the United States all feed on pollen and nectar as adults, and are typically found on flowers. The favorite pollen source of the Pennsylvania Leatherwing is Goldenrod.
Note that the scientific name of this beetle is often misspelled pennsylanicus.
The other member of this genus found in our area is Chauliognathus marginatus (pictured below):
Insects of West Virginia