Soldier beetle

The soldier beetles (Cantharidae) are relatively soft-bodied, straight-sided beetles. They are cosmopolitan in distribution. One of the first described species has a color pattern reminiscent of the red coats of early British soldiers, hence the common name. They are also known commonly as leatherwings because of their soft elytra.[1]

Historically, these beetles were placed in a superfamily "Cantharoidea", which has been subsumed by the superfamily Elateroidea; the name is still sometimes used as a rankless grouping, including the families Cantharidae, Drilidae, Lampyridae, Lycidae, Omalisidae, Omethidae, Phengodidae (which includes Telegeusidae), and Rhagophthalmidae.

Soldier beetle
Chauliognathus lugubris
Chauliognathus lugubris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Elateroidea
Family: Cantharidae
Imhoff, 1856
Synonyms

Chauliognathidae

Soldier beetle filmed in Hesse, Germany

See also

References

  1. ^ Phillips, C., et al. Leatherwing (Soldier) Beetles. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. 2013.

External links

Cantharis fusca

Cantharis fusca is a species of soldier beetle.

C. fusca reaches a length of 10–15 millimetres (0.39–0.59 in). Except for parts of the head and thorax, which are red or orange, this species is completely black. The body is flat and long, with a weak exoskeleton. These beetles have long feathery antennae, and comparatively long legs.

This species is common in large parts of Europe, and lives in bushes, edges of forests, and meadows. They hunt for small insects.

The larvae have black hairs, and also eat small insects. They are very cold-resistant, and can be seen crawling on the snow in winter.

Chauliognathus

Chauliognathus is a genus of soldier beetles in the family Cantharidae. Adults have almost rectangular bodies. Some are red and black, similar to the military uniforms that were common before the usage of camouflage, hence the name of soldier beetles. Others are orange and black. The elytra or first pair of wings are softer than the elytra of most beetles, that is why their other common name is leatherwings. The adults are frequently found on flowers, such as sunflowers, goldenrod, coneflowers, where they mate and feed on pollen and nectar. The larvae are more common in the ground or among debris, where they feed on eggs or larvae of other insects. The adults are most frequently found in summer and early fall.

They are native to America and Australia.

Chauliognathus basalis

Chauliognathus basalis, the Colorado soldier beetle, is a species of soldier beetle in the family Cantharidae. It is found in North America.

Chauliognathus discus

Chauliognathus discus, the soldier beetle, is a species of soldier beetle in the family Cantharidae. It is found in North America.

Chauliognathus lugubris

The plague soldier beetle or green soldier beetle (Chauliognathus lugubris) is a species of soldier beetle (Cantharidae) native to Australia. It has a flattened body to 15 millimetres (0.59 in) long with a prominent yellow-orange stripe behind the black prothorax. The abdomen is yellow-orange but is mostly obscured by the metallic olive green elytra. The beetles often form large mating swarms.

Chauliognathus marginatus

Chauliognathus marginatus, known generally as the margined leatherwing or margined soldier beetle, is a species of soldier beetle in the family Cantharidae. It is found in Central America and North America.

Chauliognathus scutellaris

Chauliognathus scutellaris, the Texas soldier beetle, is a species of soldier beetle in the family Cantharidae. It is found in Central America and North America.

Chauliognathus tricolor

Chauliognathus tricolor, the Tricolor soldier beetle, is a species of soldier beetle in the family Cantharidae. It has a flattened body between 6 to 16 millimeters long with a prominent red-orange stripe behind the black prothorax. The abdomen is yellow-orange but is mostly obscured by the metallic olive green elytra.

Cheddar Wood

Cheddar Wood (grid reference ST445552) is an 86.9-hectare (215-acre) biological Site of Special Scientific Interest at Cheddar in the Mendip Hills, Somerset, England, notified in 1967.

Cheddar Wood and the smaller Macall's Wood near Cheddar Gorge are what remains of the wood of the Bishops of Bath and Wells in the thirteenth century and of King Edmund the Magnificent's wood in the tenth. It lies on carboniferous limestone with rock showing through the thin topsoils. In 1801 the wood was larger than it is today. During the nineteenth century its lower fringes were grubbed out to make strawberry fields, most of which have reverted to woodland. It was coppiced until 1917.This site comprises a range of habitats which includes ancient and secondary semi-natural broadleaved woodland, unimproved neutral grassland and a mosaic of calcareous grassland and acidic dry dwarf-shrub heath. Two nationally rare plant species are present. Additional interest lies in the invertebrate fauna. Cheddar Wood is one of only a few English stations for starved wood-sedge (Carex depauperata), which grows in the lane along the east side of the wood. The nationally rare purple gromwell (Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum) grows in the lane along the west side of the wood.Butterflies include silver-washed fritillary (Argynnis paphia), dark green fritillary (Argynnis aglaja), pearl-bordered fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne), holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) and brown argus (Aricia agestis). The slug Arion fasciatus, which has a restricted distribution in the south of England, and the soldier beetle Cantharis fusca also occur.The site is managed as two nature reserves by Somerset Wildlife Trust Cheddar Wood Edge which covers 7.1 hectares (18 acres) of old strawberry fields, is now reverting to semi species-rich limestone grassland and scrub with ancient woodland hedges, and Cheddar Wood itself which has restricted access allowed by permit.

Common red soldier beetle

The common red soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva), also misleadingly known as the bloodsucker beetle, and popularly known in England as the Hogweed Bonking Beetle is a species of soldier beetle (Cantharidae).

Cratosilis

Cratosilis is a genus of soldier beetle belonging to the family Cantharidae.Cratosilis include species with a radical metamorphosis and distinctive larval, pupal, and adult stages (endopterygota) during development. Larvae are radically different from the adults in their structure and behaviour.

Eryniopsis lampyridarum

Eryniopsis lampyridarum is an entomopathogenic fungus and its host is the soldier beetle, either Chauliognathus marginatus or Chauliognathus pensylvanicus. Eryniopsis lampyridarum is mind controlling for the soldier beetle and can manipulate the beetle into doing things that it wouldn't normally do. Once the fungus has established itself inside the beetle, it sends the infected beetle on a mission to find a specific daisy flower Asteraceae. The soldier beetle will clamp its mouthpiece onto the flower as tight as it can, while it awaits its death. The parasitic fungus forces the dead beetle to then spread its wings wide in a dramatic pose; this makes the beetle look bigger as if it is seeking out a mate. The fungus makes sure the dying beetle will attract more beetles so it can spread its spores. The fungus makes sure the beetle spreads its wings only at daybreak. It is also strange that the beetle will be dead for hours and then suddenly it will spread its wings at daylight, just in time to attract potential mates to its dead body. This is because the fungus is in control of the beetle's body functions. Then, when an uninfected beetle comes along to socialize with the dead beetle, the fungus' spores spread to the new beetle.

Not all beetles will end up at a daisy flower. Some will die and fall to the ground. In this case, the parasitic fungus creates many spores that will be resistant to the environment and remain infective for many months. The spores will remain infective in the soil, awaiting the next season where they can infect more soldier beetles.This parasite was first discovered in North Carolina in the late 1970s, early 1980s. It has been found only in eastern and central North America, although its host, the soldier beetle, is found in southern Canada as well.

Goldenrod soldier beetle

The goldenrod soldier beetle or Pennsylvania leatherwing (Chauliognathus pensylvanicus) is a species of soldier beetle (Cantharidae).

List of soldier beetle (Cantharidae) species recorded in Britain

The following is a list of soldier beetle (family Cantharidae) species recorded in Great Britain. For other beetles, see List of beetle species recorded in Britain.

Malthinus occipitalis

Malthinus occipitalis, the yellow-tipped soldier beetle, is a species of soldier beetle in the family Cantharidae. It is found in North America.

Metacantharis

Metacantharis is a genus of soldier beetle belonging to the family Cantharidae.

Rhagonycha

Rhagonycha is a genus of soldier beetle belonging to the family Cantharidae. There are at least 140 described species in Rhagonycha.

Tegrodera

Tegrodera is a genus beetles known as iron cross blister beetles and iron cross soldier beetles. They are in the family Meloidae. There are at least three described species in Tegrodera.

Verbesina occidentalis

Verbesina occidentalis is a flowing plant in the Asteraceae family. The common names for Verbesina occidentalis are yellow crownbeard and stick weed. Verbesina occidentalis is often considered a weedy plant of disturbed areas, due its presence in managed agricultural areas such as hayfields.

Extant Coleoptera families

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