The Cloisonne Bug
May 30, 2012 8:21 AM   Subscribe

A saw a winged bug today, but don't know what it was. Can you help me identify this bug even though I have no foto, only a description?

The bug was winged, maybe 2 to 3 cm long (about an inch). Its head was black, but not sure about antenna. So far so normal. If I had to guess I would say it was a moth or butterfly, but I don't know, there were dragon and damselflies in the area as well. However, the wings were startlingly different from anything I've ever seen, even though I only got a good look at them folded up.

The main body of the wings was the hue of brass, but it was split into little square and triangular sections by intervening black ribs. It looked like cloisonne work, or even vaguely architectural, like the windows of some International style skyscraper.

At rest the wings were angular, not rounded like other bugs. They went straight alongside the body, but came to an almost square end. There seemed to be no overlap or gap between the wings, and I couldn't tell where one ended and the other began. There was no part of the body stretching out back beyond the wings.

This was seen in England, north east midlands, along a river in a drained marsh landscape.

Any help would be great, as the bug's wings fascinated me for the while that I saw it. Sadly it fluttered away too quick and couldn't catch a glimpse of it in flight.
posted by Jehan to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
Maybe a type of fritillary?
posted by Coatlicue at 8:33 AM on May 30, 2012

Response by poster: I can see where you're coming from with the wings color and pattern. But because the wings were at rest by the side of the body, I don't think any of those would work. I suppose that most butterflies wouldn't rest like that, and so it's less likely to be a butterfly of any kind.
posted by Jehan at 8:41 AM on May 30, 2012

Was it a beetle, like this or this or this? Or was it more like a fly or wasp? Maybe a type of lacewing? Seems like a dragonfly or damselfly could be possibilities.
posted by univac at 9:16 AM on May 30, 2012

Response by poster: Lacewings would be the right size and shape. But the bug was completely different colors from the common green lacewing. I'm looking myself, but are there any which are black and brass/gold?
posted by Jehan at 9:30 AM on May 30, 2012

Possibly a flying ant?
posted by The Violet Cypher at 9:34 AM on May 30, 2012

There are many medium-sized insects that fit your description somewhat. Did your insect resemble this or this to any degree? It may have been some European species of caddisfly or Myrmeleontidae.
posted by Nomyte at 10:16 AM on May 30, 2012

Response by poster: Antlions look like a good lead, thanks. They don't seem to be terrifically common in England, which could explain why I've not seen it before. I'll see if any have the right wings.
posted by Jehan at 10:34 AM on May 30, 2012

When I was trying to identify a bug in my house, I found "What's That Bug?"

Pretty neat!
posted by sarah_pdx at 3:06 PM on May 30, 2012

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