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 Common red soldier beetle
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Beetle - common red soldier beetle - side face
Beetle - common red soldier beetle - side face


Soldier beetles
The soldier beetles (Cantharidae; synonym Chauliognathidae), also known as leatherwings, are a family in the order beetles (Coleoptera), the suborder Polyphaga and the superfamily Elateroidea. From the 4000 species which are found worldwide, around 100 are common in Central Europe. Some examples of species worldwide are : common red soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva), Rhagonycha lignosa, Cantharis fusca, Cantharis nigricans, Cantharis rustica, Cantharis livida, Cantharis rufa, Cantharis obscura, Malthinus biguttatus, Malthodes maurus and Malthinus flaveolus.
Common red soldier beetle banishing a wasp from a thistle
Common red soldier beetle banishing a wasp from a thistle
Adult soldier beetles reach body lengths of 1. 2 - 28 mm. Their bodies are long and mostly flat. Most species are strongly coloured with fine hair. The entire abdomen is covered by the wing covers (elytra ). Soldier beetles have long, slender legs.
Soldier beetle - Cantaris Obscura
Soldier beetle - Cantaris Obscura
Soldier beetles live in forests, fields, meadows and gardens, where they can be found on blossoms or leaves, often in groups. They are diurnal and feed on insects or parts of plants.
The larvae of soldier beetles have long, soft bodies, which are often a velvety dark colour. They live on and in the soil and feed on small insects, snails, worms, or parts of plants (young shoots or pollen). Soldier beetle larvae overwinter under rocks, leaves, moss or bark. On sunny winter days they can be observed crawling in the snow (snow worms).


Further chapters of "soldier beetles"
- common red soldier beetle
- Cantharis fusca
- Rhagonycha elongata
- Cantharis rufa
- Cantharis obscura
Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Beetle - common red soldier beetle - side face
2. Common red soldier beetle banishing a wasp from a thistle
3. Soldier beetle - Cantaris Obscura
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