Soldier Beetle On

soldier beetle with black elytra and red pronotum

The brilliant red on the beetles pronotum (shielding plate on the back of the beetle’s thorax) and mouth is an attention grabber.

This soldier beetle, family Cantharidae, was fairly cooperative if only for a short period of time. Quite a poser though, in the best sense. A lot of these beetles don’t have quite so brilliant a red or orange on them as this one (in my personal experience in Massachusetts, anyway). Such colors are usually warnings to would-be predators, but they are more like invitations to photographers. I am not sure if this particular beetle has any nasty properties, but it was pleasurable to photograph. In the shots below/after the break, I was able to get a nice low angles which worked very nicely (if I may say so) even if I couldn’t arrange the frame to have the beetle looking more towards the center as opposed to the edge. The vagaries of bugs who move when they want and plant that only move if you make them. C’est la vie.

Typical ID disclaimer: very rough guess is genus Podabrus (neat name!), but I’m doubtful. Two more shots below.

soldier beetle with black elytra and red pronotum

The soldier beetle is having a bit of a clean.


soldier beetle with black elytra and red pronotum and one antenna sticking straight up

Antenna up, almost time for the soldier beetle to make its exit.


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