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[All pictures of garden wildlife on this page are thumbnails. Click on any thumbnail for a large format to be displayed.]

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Soldier Beetle (Cantharis fusca)

Taxonomy
Kingdom:Phylum:Class:Order:Family:Genus:Species:
AnimaliaArthropodaInsectaColeopteraCantharidaeCantharisC. fusca


This soldier beetle is almost all black with only the part of the head and part of pronotum (the neck shield) being orange/red. C. fusca reaches 1015 mm in length. It is common in most parts of Europe, it's usual habitat includes bushes, edges of forests and meadows.

Adults are frequently found on a variety of flowers, where they feed on pollen and nectar. On their menu are also other insects such as aphyds which makes this soldier beetle a welcome inhabitant of your garden. The larvae have black hairs and also predate small insects. They are very cold-resistant, and can be seen crawling on the snow in winter.



The black and red colours on C. fusca remind of the colours on old European military uniforms. Therefore these soldier beetles were in Germany called 'the Frenchmen' while in France they called them 'the Prussians'.
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