The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Hook-winged Net-winged Beetle

Afrikaans name:

Hook-winged Net-winged Beetle

Hook-winged Net-winged Beetle

Photo © Steven Herbert

Lycus melanurus

This attractive beetle belongs to the family Lycidae or Net-winged Beetles. The beetles in this family vary in length between 6 and 25 mm and are coloured orange and black.

The name Hook-winged Net-winged Beetle is a bit of a mouthful which is kind of apt as they are thought to be distasteful to predators. The distastefulness comes from a substance called cantharidin which can burn or poison humans if taken in large quantities. Strangely cantharidin was also used in the aphrodisiac call Spanish Fly.

The Hook-winged Net-winged Beetle varies in length from 11 to 25 mm. They are active during the day. They are found on plants where they feed on nectar. At times they may be found in large numbers.

Their preferred habitats are gardens, savanna, grasslands and forest.

References and further reading

Remarkable Insects of South Africa - Author: Lambert Smith - Published: 2008 - Page: 124

Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving - Published: 0 - Page: 220


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