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I saw this insect flying around in Southern California, USA during the summer. It is about 1.25 cm in length. When it flies, it opens up its wings like a ladybug's. What is this? enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ You want to add the species-identification tag to your question, and say something about size; this will bring your question to the attention of those most likely to be able to answer it. If you have better photographs, adding the best of them will also help $\endgroup$ – Arthur J Frost Jul 3 '17 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ The observation about the way it opens the wings, like a ladybug, is a good one. Both are Coleoptera: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beetle. "Coleoptera" means something like "with shielded wings". Like most insects, they have two pairs of wings, but the front one is hardened and has a protecting role. The animal has to open this "shield" to allow the rear pair of wings to do the flying job. $\endgroup$ – bli Jul 3 '17 at 9:04
  • $\begingroup$ It appears to be a type of beetle, most likely a May beetle (genus: Phyllophaga). $\endgroup$ – lexknuther Jul 4 '17 at 3:35
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This is a scarab beetle that belongs to the genus Cyclocephala, and has the nickname of "masked shafer" (gallery). There are over 300 different species within this genus, however, the species most common to southern California is C. hirta and C. pasadenae, with me leaning more towards the former.


C. hirta; San Diego County, CA (source) enter image description here

C. hirta; San Leandro, CA. (source) enter image description here

C. pasadenae; Vail, AZ (source)
enter image description here


When it flies, it opens up its wings like a ladybug's.


enter image description here
Ladybug, left; masked chafer, right.

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I have seen that bug for years, I know its a type of beetle and you are not suppose to smash em. This is just coming from my own research and talking with friends. I think they are called June Bugs.

Heres a descriptor I found.

mahogany-colored beetle of the scarab beetle family, widely distributed in North America and especially abundant in the NE United States and the adjacent parts of Canada. It is also known as June bug, although true bugs belong to a different insect order. The adults, which may swarm in great numbers in early summer and are attracted to lights, feed by night on the foliage of deciduous trees and hide during the day. The eggs are laid in the soil, where the larvae, called white grubs, remain for two or three years, eating the roots and other underground parts of grasses, grains, and trees. The grubs cause great destruction to lawns and fir trees. Many birds and small mammals, such as skunks and pigs, root out the grubs and eat them. The insects pupate underground in the fall and emerge as adults the following spring. June beetles are sometimes called cockchafers, a name used primarily for some of their close relatives in the Old World. They are closely allied to the leaf chafers, including the rose chafer. June beetles are classified in the phylum Arthropoda , class Insecta, order Coleoptera, family Scarabaeidae.

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  • $\begingroup$ For the people down voting my response, its better than nothing. If you know what this is then post otherwise stop being a keyboard warrior troll. $\endgroup$ – user33775 Jul 6 '17 at 16:46
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    $\begingroup$ It would seem that your response was accurate to the family. And to speculate as to your incurred downvotes.. I believe that people generally expect a [brief] response that contains an image of two, and at least one source. Even though your response was somewhat correct, your presentation is what kept it from being better received. $\endgroup$ – user22020 Sep 24 '17 at 16:52

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