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Soldier Beetle (Podabrus pruinosis)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Soldier Beetle, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 6/16/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Soldier Beetle  
Picture of Soldier-Beetle-Podabrus

Soldier Beetles are great aphid hunters, helping gardeners control pest populations that often undermine food harvests or ornamental aesthetics.

Most Soldier Beetle are sentries in the garden, eating insects that harm plants. Some species feed on aphids; some eat the sticky honeydew that aphids secrete after ingesting the juices from a plant. Certain Solider Beetles eat both, which is a bonus. Honeydew attracts other insects, like ants, and can turn black with mold in certain conditions, ruining the beauty of ornamental plants. Aphids are a fast breeding insect that can quickly infest a plant and drain it of its resources, weakening it to the point of death. Soldier Beetles are a friend to gardeners.

The wings of this beetle are soft, like leather. Their coloring was reminiscent of the red coats worn by British military. They are members of the Cantharidae family, which means they secrete a defensive toxic chemical that deters predators from pursuing them.

Look for Solider Beetle adults on flowers and plants prone to aphid attack. Their larvae can be seen on the ground feeding in leaf litter.

Soldier Beetle Information

Category: Beetle
Common Name: Soldier Beetle
Scientific Name: Podabrus pruinosis
Other Name(s): Leatherwing Beetle

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Coleoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Cantharidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Podabrus
       Arrow graphic Species: pruinosis

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 11 mm to 17 mm (0.429 inches to 0.663 inches)
Identifying Colors: black, orange
Additional Descriptors: flower, flying, helpful

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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