Saturday, June 13, 2009
This particular Soldier Beetle I believe to be (Cantharis rotundicollis). This one has red legs, whereas another similar species has black legs. Soldier beetles are in the family of insects called Cantharidae. They are approximately 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch long, their bodies are elongated. This particular species has black elytra and a red head/ thorax. Rotundicollis is taken from rotund, meaning "round". I assume it means from the rounded appearance of the elytra at the base. These beetles are very wide spread and common throughout Missouri. I found this particular one near our Black Raspberry Vines. They feed on aphids as well as nectar and pollen. Hopefully this little guy was gleaning any aphids off the berries. It looks like we may have a bumper crop of berries this year. If I can manage to get them picked before the birds do. The larva of this species feeds on soft bodied insects such as maggots, small caterpillars, and insect eggs. Some species of soldier beetle larvae will feed on grains, celery or potatoes. Females lay eggs in stumps, rotting logs or under dense vegetation. The young are covered in dense bristly hairs that give them a velvety look. Look for them near gardens, meadows and roadsides. Most anywhere vegetation can be found or where a population of aphids occurs.