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Cantharis fusca - Soldier beetle
Cantharis fusca - Soldier beetle

Cantharis fusca
Cantharis fusca is a species in the order beetles (Coleoptera), the suborder Polyphaga, the infraorder Elateriformia, the superfamily Elateroidea (synonym Cantharoidea), the family soldier beetles (Cantharidae, synonym Telephoridae), the subfamily Cantharinae, the tribe Cantharini, and the genus Cantharis. Cantharis fusca are widespread and common in large parts of Europe.
Soldier beetle - Cantharis fusca
Soldier beetle - Cantharis fusca
Adult Cantharis fusca reach body lengths of 11 - 15 mm. Their bodies are black and orange in colour, flat and elongated, and their exoskeleton is weak.
The head is orange-red at the front. The antennae are long and threadlike and the first 3 segments are brownish red. The other segments are black. The mouthparts (mandibles) are red in colour, as also as parts of the neck. The front part of the chest is orange on the upper surface (neck plate). There is a black spot in the middle of the chest that can run right up to the front or rear edge.
The abdomen is long and flat and predominantly orange in colouron the upper surface and sides. The underside is black and only orange at the outer edges. The wing covers are black. They are finely haired which makes them appear lightly powdered. The legs are relatively long and also hairy. Their outer surface is black in colour and the inner surface is orange. Cantharis fusca can be confused with other soldier beetles (eg Cantharis annularis, Cantharis pellucida and Cantharis rustica).
Cantharis fusca are found from May to June at all altitudes up to 2000 metres. They live in forest edges, in hedge rows, and in meadows and fields. They are diurnal and usually sit on plants (grasses, herbaceous plants and shrubs) or flowers, in order to feed on small insects (living or dead aphids). Occasionally Cantharis fusca eat the young sprouts of the oak tree), or buds, leaves and nectar and pollen from various other plants.
Mating takes place in late May to early June. The fertilized females lay their eggs in moist soil. The larvae hatch after several days. Their bodies have velvety black hair. They have strong mouthparts. The larvae of Cantharis fusca live on the ground or near the ground and capture small insects, worms and snails to eat, killing them by injecting them with poison. The cold-resistant larvae overwinter under rocks or in soil litter. On sunny winter days they can be observed crawling on the snow surface. The larvae are thus also called "snow worms”. In May of the following year, they have finished the 6th larval stage and pupate. That same month, the adult beetles hatch from the chrysalises.

Cantharis (Cantharis) fusca
German namesSoldatenkäfer, Gemeiner Weichkäfer
Dutch namesZwartpootsoldaatje
Danish namesStor blødvinge
Finnish namesNiittysylkikuoriainen
Swedish namesStor flugbagge
AuthorCarl von Linné (Carl Nilsson Linnæus), 1758

North Europe (British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain)), Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland (Åland Islands)), Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia))), West Europe (Austria, France, Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), Liechtenstein), South Europe (Italy (North Italy, South Italy)), Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic (Moravia, Bohemia), Slovakia), Southeast Europe (Romania)

Ecozones: Palaearctic

CountriesAustria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
Taxonomic statusSynonymus of Psalydolytta fusca
Links and ReferencesCantharis fusca in
Cantharis fusca in
Cantharis fusca in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Cantharis fusca - Soldier beetle
2. Soldier beetle - Cantharis fusca
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Sources, links and more informations
Cantharis_fusca in Wikipedia
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Cantharis fusca
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
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