Soldier beetle

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Soldier beetles
Chauliognathus lugubris.jpg
Chauliognathus lugubris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Superfamily: Elateroidea
Family: Cantharidae
Imhoff, 1856

Many, see text



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 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.

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