These beetles have a lengthened body, and strongly sculptured pronotum and elytra. The elytra quite often have longitudinal ridges, connected and crossed by transverse ridges. Most species of Lycidae are rather brightly-coloured, often a combination of orange/red and black. This aposematic colour advertises to potential predators that these beetles taste very bad! Numerous beetles and other insects (even moths and true bugs) mimic this lycid colouration to likewise avoid being eaten.
They can be found mainly in mountainous or hilly areas, but also at lower elevations. Adults are active during the day (diurnal) and are often found on foliage, flowers or trunks, generally in dense woods or wetlands. Some are predatory, others are supposed to feed on rotting vegetation. The larvae are carnivorous and live under bark.