This soldier beetle’s name hints at the other name for the family (Cantharidae), the leather wings, so-called for their soft, flexible wing covers (elytra). Flat, long, and velvety, soldier beetles have brown to black bodies often marked with red or orange. The bright colors serve as a warning to would-be predators. Both adults and larvae can secrete defensive chemicals from glands at the rear of the abdomen. This particular genus has a distinct “neck,” where the head narrows behind the eyes. Adults are frequently found on leaves and flowers, where they feed on other insects, as well as nectar and pollen. Larvae can also be predators or plant-eaters.

Photo by: Glenn Marangelo on 7/17/21 in Philipsburg, MT