Cantharis nigricans

Cantharis nigricans

I see quite a number of these brightly coloured soldier beetles on my walks in spring and summer, but although they all may initially look the same, there are several species which can lead to some confusion in identification.

This soldier beetle has dark greyish elytra, a bright orange-red or orange-yellow pronotum which has a dark central marking which varies in size, and may also be absent. The antennae and legs are reddish-orange, except for the hind legs which are mainly black extending beyond the knee. Length 9 to 11mm.

It feeds on other invertebrates.

Seen May to July in flowery habitats, including hedgerows, scrub, woodland margins and various grassy places. Common and widespread throughout Britain.

Photograph of Cantharis nigricans taken May 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

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