Friday 24 May
Soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva)
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Soldier beetle fact file
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Soldier beetle description
This soldier beetle called the ‘bloodsucker’ in some areas because of its bright red colouration. It is the most common soldier beetle in Britain, and is typically seen on large flower heads, often in mating pairs (2). Soldier beetles are elongated beetles that have soft bodies. The red wing cases (elytra) are covered with short downy hair and are black at the tips (3). The common name of the group, soldier beetle has arisen as a result of most members of the family being red and black in colour (3).
- Also known as
- Length: 7 – 10 mm (2)
- In beetles and earwigs, the hard fore wings. They are held aloft when the insect flies, and are often coloured or patterned.
- Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
- National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (January2004): http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn
- Harde, K.W. (2000) Beetles. Silverdale Books, Leicester.
- Chinery. M. (1993) Insects of Britain and Northern Europe. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd, London.
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Soldier beetle biology
The adults are seen from late June to August and occasionally survive into September (2). Although typically seen on flower heads, this beetle is carnivorous and feeds on other insects that visit the flowers (3). It is often seen in pairs because copulation takes a relatively long time (2). The ground-dwelling larvae are also carnivorous (3).Top
Soldier beetle rangeTop
Soldier beetle habitat
Occurs in a wide range of habitats including gardens and road verges (2).Top
Soldier beetle status
Not threatened (2).Top
Soldier beetle threats
This species is not threatened.Top
Soldier beetle conservation
Conservation action is not required for this species.Top
Find out more
For more on invertebrates and their conservation see Buglife- the invertebrate conservation trust:
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