Soldier beetles, like this common Pennsylvania leatherwing, are an ubiquitous sight in my summer garden. There are some 470 different species of soldier beetles in North America and most are considered beneficial. As adults, all species have soft, leathery wings, fly well, and serve to pollinate various flowering plants. Larval soldier beetles live in leaf litter and under rocks, logs, and debris. Larvae feed primarily at night and are fast movers with large, grasping jaws that capture and consume insect eggs and prey, including grasshopper eggs, caterpillars, aphids, mealybugs and many others. Adults consume nectar, with many species also eating aphids and other insects. Both adult and larval soldier beetles can exude foul defensive chemicals to aid in their protection from other predators. In the western U.S., the brown leatherwing is a very common species.