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How to Manage Pests

Identification: Natural Enemies Gallery

Soldier beetles, leather-winged beetles

Scientific name: Cantharidae family

Life stages of soldier beetles Soil-dwelling larva Adult

Click on image to enlarge

Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Cantharidae

Common prey: For adults: aphids. For larvae: eggs and larvae of soil-dwelling beetles, butterflies, moths and other insects.

Commercially available: No


Adults are long and narrow. Common species are often about 1/2 inch (13 mm) long with a red, orange or yellow head and abdomen and black, gray or brown soft wing covers. Adults are often observed feeding on aphids or on pollen or nectar on flowering shrubs and trees. Metamorphosis is complete. Larvae are dark, elongate, and flattened. They feed under bark or in soil or litter, primarily on eggs and larvae of beetles, butterflies, moths, and other insects.  There are over 100 species of soldier beetles in California.

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

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