Soldier beetle - Cantharis rustica, click for a larger image, photo licensed for reuse
Photo ©2013 Magnefl
Soldier beetle - Cantharis rustica, click for a larger image, photo licensed for reuse
Photo ©2014 CJ Sharp

Soldier beetle - Cantharis rustica
Family - Cantharidae

One of several Cantharis beetles, the Soldier beetle is the most common.  Attaining a length of 9-13mm (0.35-0.5in) it has shiny black elongated elytra , red and black femora, a distinctly red pronotum with a heart shaped central black spot, and black antennae of eleven segments of which the bottom two or three are orange.

It is covered in fine hairs.  It can be found in fields and grasslands with tall grasses that have been let go to seed, and open woodlands from May to July.  It is common throughout England and Wales and is a predator hunting mainly on flowers.

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