Soldier Beetle

reddish-orange soldier beetle with dark grey elytraon leaf in profile

A placid soldier beetle (possibly a Cantharis sp.) rests on a leaf.

I originally labeled this image as a longhorn beetle, but since I have become somewhat familiar with that group, their distinctive heads and faces suggested to me that I was dealing with something else. My next step was checking out soldier beetles, which sometimes look like low-cost generic brand longhorns (to me anyway). It’s the long bodies and long antennae. The soldiers just lack that strength and resoluteness of the longhorns. At the risk of over-generalizing, they’re kinda squirrelly in comparison, is what I’m trying to say.

I “lucked” into quickly finding an image of Cantharis rotundicollis while browsing BugGuide.net. It’s lucky in that I found a decent match, but sometimes going straight to a species example can backfire (especially if one is not motivated to search the vast catalogue of Coleoptera). I try to backtrack to see how unique it may be, but it can be a crapshoot if there are similar-looking species in different genera.

I am confident this is a soldier beetle, Family Cantharidae.  My hunch is it is a Cantharis sp., and probably C. rotundicollis, but that is a tentative ID.

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