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Soldier Beetles - Cantharidae

Soldier Beetles - Cantharidae
Photo Information
Copyright: Martin Valliere (marval) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 10 W: 0 N: 19] (160)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-08-13
Categories: Insects
Camera: Pentax *ist DS, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2006-08-17 13:53
Viewed: 4279
Points: 8
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Goldenrod Soldier Beetle - Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus

The soldier beetles, or Cantharidae are relatively soft-bodied, straight sided beetles, related to the Lampyridae or firefly family, but being unable to produce light. One common British species is bright red, reminding people of the red coats of soldiers, hence the common name. A secondary common name is leatherwing, obtained from the texture of the wing covers.

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.

Soldier beetles are highly desired by gardeners as biological control agents of a number of pest insects. The larvae tend to be dark brown or gray, slender and wormlike with a rippled appearance due to pronounced segmentation. They consume grasshopper eggs, aphids, caterpillars and other soft bodied insects, most of which are pests.

The adults are especially important predators of aphids. They supplement their diet with nectar and pollen and can be minor pollinators. Soldier beetle populations can be increased by planting good nectar- or pollen-producing plants such as Asclepias or Solidago.

Occasionally in the fall larvae may try to enter houses for winter warmth in sufficient numbers to be noticed. They are not harmful to humans in any way, but can be prevented by caulking cracks and vacuuming any that do succeed in entry.


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To vhemmati: ...marval 1 08-17 14:08
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What was going on there? everybody's having fun! Great details and light.



  • Great 
  • carper Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1973 W: 119 N: 2582] (8439)
  • [2006-08-17 14:09]

well Martin,
it's a very good shot, the macro is nice in point of view and the composition is nice, the details are good and the dof is good too.. I have also looked to you other last 2 macro and I must say, good photography, but try to made a better composition through cropping, very good job.
gr. jaap

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2006-08-17 15:50]

That is a very busy flower! Great colours, details and sharpness. Excellent POV and sharpness

Fascinating beetles Martin! Good lighting and detail on your subject. DOF is very good too.

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