Soldier Beetle
( Cantharidae )



PHOTO COMMENT
Active mostly during the day, but some come to lights

IDENTIFICATION
Identification:Cantharidae
(Imhoff, 1856)
Common Name:Soldier Beetle
Life Stage:(A) adult

PHYLOGENY

Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Superorder:Holometabola
Order:Coleoptera
Suborder:Polyphaga
Family:Cantharidae
Taxon Code:COL02321
ITIS TSN#:113837

LOCATION DETAILS
Location
Knowland Park, Knowland Park, Oakland
County:Alameda County
ECI Site#:CA01100108

RECOGNITION
Adult beetles are soft and somewhat flattened, with parallel sides, long legs and long, usually threadlike antennae. Many species colorful--aposematic. Lack light organs. Head typically protrudes (somewhat) from under pronotum--mostly visible from above, unlike in Lampyridae. Tarsal formula 5-5-5, with the fourth segment lobed. Common species have heads, antennae, pronota and legs are brown, red or orange with dark elytra. Elytra are soft. Larvae are usually velvety.
Body Length
About 13 mm long for common species.

BIOLOGY
Food
Adults are often observed feeding on aphids, pollen or nectar on flowering shrubs and trees. Adults may feed on other insects, as well. Larvae are fluid-feeding predators on eggs of other insects and the larvae of beetles, butterflies, moths, and other insects.
Distribution
Worldwide and throughout North America.

HABITAT
Adults mostly on vegetation, often on flowers. Larvae in leaf litter, under tree bark, loose soil, rotten wood, etc.

CREDITS
Photographer
Tony Iwane

REFERENCES
  • Family Cantharidae - Soldier Beetles. (http://bugguide.net/node/view/118). Accessed March 12, 2016. [ IMAGES ]
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System TSN#113837
  • Soldier beetles, leather-winged beetles. (http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/NE/soldier_beetles.html). Accessed April 9, 2016.


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