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Soldier Beetle (Chauliognathus spp.)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Soldier Beetle



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The Soldier Beetle is a steadfast ally to the home gardener by protecting and pollinating, doing plants two favors at once.



Updated: 07/13/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Commonly found in parks and fields, this genus of beetle feeds on aphids. They are usually spotted on flowers, especially goldenrods and hydrangeas. While reducing the number of plant-sucking insects, they also pollinate flowers so the plants can reproduce.

A variety of species vary in pattern, though most are some kind of orange and black. Some Soldier Beetles are paler orange, almost yellow. All have eltyra (wing coverings) that have the texture of leather. Larvae hatch under leaf litter or debris. They eat the eggs and larvae of other insects also on the ground. Larvae have special glands that emit a defensive chemical spray that is retained and used into adulthood. Look for adult Soldier Beetles on blooming shrubs and flowers. It is common to see many in the same area or on the same plant. They are active late summer to early autumn.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Helpful insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Cantharidae
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          Genus: Chauliognathus
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Chauliognathus spp.
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 13mm (0.31" to 0.51")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: yellow; orange; brown; black
Descriptors: flying, helpful
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 8mm (0.3in) and 13mm (0.5in)
Lo: 8mm
Md: 10.5mm
Hi: 13mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Soldier Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Soldier Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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