Soldier Beetles are medium-sized, rather long, with rectangular wing-cases. They are usually black with yellow or red markings behind the head, but sometimes they are tan or yellow with black markings. Soldier Beetles resemble Lightning Bugs in overall appearance, but there is no light-emitting organ. The larvae are often carnivorous and feed on small, soft-bodied insects, while the adults are often found on flowers feeding on pollen or nectar. One of the more common members of this family, Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus (Goldenrod Soldier Beetle), is found on goldenrod and other flowers during the late summer and early fall.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
Specimens with Sequences:4741
Specimens with Barcodes:4598
Species With Barcodes:178
The soldier beetles (Cantharidae) are relatively soft-bodied, straight-sided beetles, related to the Lampyridae or firefly family, but unable to produce light. 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.
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.
- Phillips, C., et al. Leatherwing (Soldier) Beetles. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University. 2013.
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