As a followup to my previous post about Mt. Airy Forest, I plan to go into deeper detail about some of the insects photographed on our outings. First up is the Soldier Beetle (Cantharidae) you see here photographed by my wife. We came across a bed of flowers at the arboretum where just about everyone of the yellow trumpet shaped flowers had one of these yellow beetle inside.
Soldier beetles are related to the Lampyridae family (lightning bugs) and it’s evident due to their visual likeness. These don’t posses the same awesome ability to glow though, so that makes them less cool… sorry guys. From what I can tell, they don’t really seems like soldiers at all… they have no apparent offense, only a basic chemical secretion defense.
Note to self… don’t move to the country protected by this army.
If you take away one bit of info from this post, take the following. If you find them in your garden, it’s in your best interest to leave them alone. Why, you ask? Well, it certainly isn’t because they are fierce soldiers… it’s because they do a good job taking care of some of the other pests that may be causing some damage such as aphids or caterpillars. Oh hey, maybe they are like soldiers after all!