15 May 2011

Soldier Beetles

Soldier beetles (Cantharidae) are so called because their bright colours resemble the uniforms of soldiers and sailors. There are 41 species on the british list, they prefer tall vegatation like umbellifiers where they will prey on dead or injured insects. Little is known about their early stages but an interesting titbit is that their larva will venture out in winter to feed and have gained the nickname of "snow worms".
Rhagonycha fulva

Cantharis rustica

Cantharis livida

There is sparse coverage of this genus in print, but Peregrine Productions at www.bombus.freeserve.co.uk sell a printed card of the 15 most common species, which is ideal as a place to start identification of this family.

1 comment:

Barry Stewart said...

Nice one Martin - this is an attractive and conspicuous group of beetles and I'm often frustrated by the lack of id literature - so thanks.