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Soldier Beetle: the bloodsucker

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Soldier Beetle: the bloodsucker

This soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva) must be the most common beetle in the British isles, it certainly is in Dorset.  They are around as adults from May through to August and they adore umbellifer flowers, especially hogweed and wild parsnip, and they also like thistles and knapweeds. In mid-summer there must be millions on flower heads across the county. 

This little chap is the sometime called the bloodsucker beetle which is grossly unfair! It gets this name because of its blood-red colouring but it is totally harmless. The only things it is interested in are small pollen feeding insects on which they prey and other 'bloodsucker' beetles! 

This is just one of the species commonly called soldier beetles. The origin of this colloquial name is obscure but it is probably either because their colouring resembles military uniforms (remember the famous Redcoats) or because they come in huge armies every summer. As not all soldier beetles are very common and are not found in armies I suspect it is their colour that gives them the name.


 

If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 3 years 3 months ago

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