Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle – Chauliognathus pensylvanicus

Soldier Beetle - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus

Beetles in Family Cantharidae are commonly called soldier beetles or blister beetles, are soft-bodied brightly colored insects known for their aggregating on flowers. They are distributed worldwide, with over 7,000 species.

Soldier Beetles mating lateral view

Unlike many other beetles, which have a pair of defensive glands at the tip of their abdomen, the soldier beetles have paired glands in the prothorax and on each of their first eight abdominal segments. When molested, the beetle emits droplets of yellowish viscous fluid from pores along their sides.

The secretion is thought to contain chemicals that are distasteful or toxic to predators, and it may also serve to deter them from further attacks. This species is thought not to produce cantharidin.

Soldier Beetle - Chauliognathus pensylvanicus

Cantharidin is a toxic terpenoid compound that is produced by certain species of blister beetles, including some species of soldier beetles. It is a potent irritant that can cause blistering of the skin and mucous membranes, as well as other symptoms such as gastrointestinal distress and kidney damage.

Soldier Beetles mating

These guys sure know how to have fun.

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Tree Encyclopedia / North American Insects & Spiders

Online since 2002