Plant-Insect Interaction: Soldier beetles on a roughleaf dogwood

Soldier beetle (family Cantharidae) pollinating a roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii, Cornaceae). Photographed 06/16/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Adult soldier beetles (family Cantharidae) are usually found on flowers, and these individuals were no exception (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).  I noticed a number of them crawling around on a roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii, Cornaceae), feeding on nectar and pollen.  The larvae, in contrast, are predaceous on other insects (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).

Soldier beetle (family Cantharidae) pollinating a roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii, Cornaceae). Photographed 06/16/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Soldier beetles bear a strong resemblance to the closely-related fireflies (family Lampyridae).  A couple of features are useful to distinguish them.  First, fireflies have short heads that are usually hidden by their pronotums when viewed from above.  Soldier beetle heads stick out a bit farther, as seen with the individual in the first photo above (Triplehorn and Johnson 2005).  Second, unlike most fireflies, soldier beetles are active in the day and lack light-producing organs (although there are diurnal fireflies that also lack such organs).

Soldier beetle (family Cantharidae) pollinating a roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii, Cornaceae). Photographed 06/18/2011 near Blissfield Michigan.

Literature cited:

Triplehorn, C.A. and N.F. Johnson.  2005.  Borror and DeLong’s Introduction to the Study of Insects.  Seventh Edition.  Thomson Brooks/Cole, Belmont, CA.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Plant-Insect Interaction: Soldier beetles on a roughleaf dogwood

  1. Pingback: Plant-Insect-Arachnid Interaction: Flower crab spider waiting for a meal on a roughleaf dogwood | The Life of Your Time

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