Soldier beetle

Soldier beetles
Chauliognathus lugubris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Superfamily: Elateroidea
Family: Cantharidae
Imhoff, 1856
Genera

Many, see text

Synonyms

Chauliognathidae

The soldier beetles, Cantharidae, are relatively soft-bodied, straight-sided beetles, related to the Lampyridae or firefly family, but being unable to produce light. They are cosmopolitan in distribution. One common British species is bright red, reminding people of the red coats of soldiers, hence the common name. A secondary common name is leatherwing, obtained from the texture of the wing covers.

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 beetles are highly desired by gardeners as biological control agents of a number of pest insects. The larvae tend to be dark brown or gray, slender and wormlike with a rippled appearance due to pronounced segmentation. They consume grasshopper eggs, aphids, caterpillars and other soft bodied insects, most of which are pests.

The adults are especially important predators of aphids. They supplement their diet with nectar and pollen and can be minor pollinators. Soldier beetle populations can be increased by planting good nectar- or pollen-producing plants such as Asclepias or Solidago.

Selected genera

  • Absidia
  • Absidiella
  • Asilis
  • Athemus
  • Bactrocantharis
  • Belotus
  • Caccodes
  • Cantharis
  • Chauliognathus
  • Compsonycha
  • Cordylocera
  • Crudosilis
  • Dichelotarsus
  • Discodon
  • Frostia
  • Hatchiana
  • Ichthyurus
  • Kandyosilis
  • Laemoglyptus
  • Lycocerus
  • Malthinellus
  • Malthinus
  • Malthodes
  • Malthomethes
  • Metacantharis
  • Microichthyurus
  • Micropodabrus
  • Mimopolemius
  • Neoontelus
  • Phytononus
  • Plectonotum
  • Podabrinus
  • Podabrus
  • Podosilis
  • Polemius
  • Prosthaptus
  • Prothemus
  • Pseudoabsidia
  • Rhagonycha
  • Silis
  • Sogdocantharis
  • Sphaerarthrum
  • Symphyomethes
  • Telephorus
  • Themus
  • Troglomethes
  • Tryphenis
  • Trypherus
  • Tylocerus
  • Tytthonyx

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Soldier beetle — Soldier Sol dier, n. [OE. souldier, soudiour, souder, OF. soldier, soldoier, soldeier, sodoier, soudoier, soudier, fr. L. solidus a piece of money (hence applied to the pay of a soldier), fr. solidus solid. See {Solid}, and cf. {Sold}, n.] 1. One …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • soldier beetle — ▪ insect       any member of the approximately 3,500 species of the widely distributed insect family Cantharidae (order Coleoptera). These slender, soft bodied beetles are brown or black and trimmed like a soldier s uniform with red, yellow, or… …   Universalium

  • soldier beetle — noun an elongated flying beetle with soft downy wing cases. [Family Cantharidae.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • soldier beetle — noun Any of several beetles, of the family Cantharidae, that are predators of aphids and other insects …   Wiktionary

  • soldier beetle — /ˈsoʊldʒə bitl/ (say sohljuh beetl) noun any of various elongated, soft bodied, brightly coloured beetles of the family Cantharidae, as Cantharis lugubris, whose larvae prey upon the larvae of codling moths …   Australian English dictionary

  • soldier beetle — noun : any of various usually brightly colored and soft bodied beetles of the family Cantharidae (as Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus) that frequent fruit and flowers and include several valuable predators on other insects …   Useful english dictionary

  • Common red soldier beetle — Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum …   Wikipedia

  • Goldenrod soldier beetle — Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum …   Wikipedia

  • List of soldier beetle (Cantharidae) species recorded in Britain — The following is a list of soldier beetle (family Cantharidae) species recorded in Britain. For other beetles, see List of beetle species recorded in Britain.* Podabrus alpinus * Ancistronycha abdominalis * Cantharis cryptica * Cantharis… …   Wikipedia

  • Soldier — Sol dier, n. [OE. souldier, soudiour, souder, OF. soldier, soldoier, soldeier, sodoier, soudoier, soudier, fr. L. solidus a piece of money (hence applied to the pay of a soldier), fr. solidus solid. See {Solid}, and cf. {Sold}, n.] 1. One who is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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