Common red soldier beetle

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Common red soldier beetle
Rhagonycha fulva - Galicia - 01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Cantharidae
Genus: Rhagonycha
Species: R. fulva
Binomial name
Rhagonycha fulva
(Scopoli, 1763)
R. fulva in copula

The common red soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva), also misleadingly known as the bloodsucker beetle,[1][2] is a species of soldier beetle (Cantharidae).

The common red soldier beetle will grow up to a centimetre. Nearly all their body is coloured red yellowish. Only the last bit of the elytra is black. The body is flat and elongated. The chitin armour is very soft, resulting in the German name of this species as Weichkäfer (meaning "soft beetle"). The black thread-like antennae are also relatively long. The equally long legs have an orange colour, which become notably darker only at the end.

This beetle is very common in Europe and Anatolia. Introduced to North America, it is well established in British Columbia and Quebec and recently recorded in Ontario.[3] One will find it very often in bushes or on grass and fields.

These beetles are active during the daylight hours, when they will hunt mostly for small insects on top of flowers.

Fairly often one will find many of them on Apiaceae or Asteraceae like thistles.

After copulation the females will lay her eggs. The larvae are soil-dwellers which hunt for snails and insects. After a year and several moults the larvae will pupate and then emerge as fully grown beetles.


  1. ^ Forey. P., Fitzsimons. C. (2007) and popularly known in England as the Hogweed Bonking Beetle ( Identification Guides: European Insects, London: Flame Tree Publishing, page 228
  2. ^ Chinery. M., et al. (2002). Wildlife of Britain and Europe, 2nd ed., London: Kingfisher Publications Plc
  3. ^ Species Rhagonycha fulva - Common Red Soldier Beetle, BugGuide

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