Soldier Beetles- Cantharidae

 



The family Cantharidae is composed of slender, soft-bodied beetles. Similar to lightning bugs in appearance, they, too, display pronounced sexual dimorphism. However, they cannot produce light.

Soldier beetles are usually seen during the daylight hours, marching up the stems of flowering plants or moving along the foliage of hedges and trees. They are normally predatory, but sometimes feed on flowers.

Their flat larvae hatch in a relatively primitive state (prolarva) and obtain their definitive shape only after one or two molts. The larvae usually live in the ground and are dark in color. Some species live in snow where their larvae can be spotted easily because of their dark color. Cantharid larvae usually feed on other insects, especially the eggs and young.

Ccmfhoris fusca, a well known species, is found primarily in central Europe where it hunts its prey on garden and forest plants. It has a reddish body with a black patch and black wing covers and legs.

Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus is a common soldier beetle found in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Its wing covers are yellow and are marked with black spots or bands. Members of this genus are frequently found on goldenrod plants.


 

INDEX : Insects   January 11, 2016 02:25:42 PM