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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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