Banded Net-Winged Beetle

Where can you find Calopteron reticulatum?

 Calopteron reticulatum is an arthropod that commonly inhabits dead, decomposing wood. The beetle not only lays its eggs in the dead, decomposing wood, but it also utilizes the wood as a food source. C. reticulatum creates tunnels for its eggs as it eats through the wood. In addition to inhabiting dead, decomposing wood, C. reticulatum has also been known to live within forest litter and soil. Soil and forest litter are also good places for C. reticulatum to find more decomposing food (Bocak and Matsuda 2003). Also, with respect to the fact that these beetles can be found in forest litter, and on logs and plants, Banded Net-Winged Beetlethey cannot survive in flightless habitats like caves (Malohlava and Bocak 2010). Caves consist of dark and sometimes wet environments, but they are also fairly cool at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, there are no plants within caves for C. reticulatum to feed on and no place to lay their eggs.   

Additionally, Malohlava and Bocak (2010) also discovered that other net-winged beetles in the Lycidae family do not tend to disperse into different habitats, but rather they have evolved genetically to survive in the habitats for which they stay. These beetles can survive in habitats ranging from humid and wet to warm and moist. In the winter though in the boreal forest and temperate grassland regions, food availability is low as plants cease growth until spring and temperatures can drop below zero. During the summer months, these regions are warm and moist and the beetles are actively feeding on plants and reproducing whereas during the cold winter months, they stay in a dormant state until spring comes. Additionally, these C. reticulatum beetles like other arthropods and animals alike demonstrate a proximate behavior in response to food availability and low temperatures.   

C. reticulatum is also considered a detritus feeder in the food chain because it feeds on decaying matter, but it also feeds on plant juices for which it utilizes as energy for reproduction and gives to its young (Bocak and Matsuda 2003; Hall and Branham 2013). Also, according to Aristizábal et al. (2013), C. reticulatum not only feeds on plant juices, but it is also a predator to foliage plants in Colombia. Additionally, not only were these beetles found to predate foliage plants, but they also demonstrated a commensalistic relationship with the plants because they predated on leafhopper nymphs (Aristizabal et al. 2013).

In geographical terms, the beetle has been found in portions of the United States as well as in the tropics. In the United States, C. reticulatum has been found in the Northeastern and Great Plains regions which includes the upper New England states like Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey; and Oklahoma in the Great Plains. In the tropics, C. reticulatum has been found in the rainforest where there is constant life and decaying of organic organisms and plant matter. (Dunn 1996: 178; Hall and Branham 2003). Additionally, many photographs that have been taken of C. reticulatum, show the beetle crawling around plants. These beetles like other arthropod and mammalian species are known to be repelled and attracted to the scents that plants send out to pollinators. In addition to C. reticulatum acting as a vector and a predator to plants, geographically, C. reticulatum and other lycidae beetles have converged and evolved to defend and mimic each other with their wing coloration (Bocak and Yagi 2010). In a study done by Bocak and Yagi (2010), mimicry patterns were recorded among species of lycidae where they considered each new wing pattern to be a characteristic. Within their system, one characteristic pattern may have been black with a red hue and another may have all black (Bocak and Yagi 2010). In addition to these characteristics, Bocak and Yagi (2010) collected these beetle specimens from geographically different locations. In an evolutionary perspective, it is highly likely that C. reticulatum has migrated to temperate and tropical regions around the world given the specimen locations. Also, according to Bocak and Yagi (2010), location did not seem to make any difference because the predators turned away from the lycid beetles that had bright coloration.

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