Soldier Beetle – Trypherus frisoni
These charming, ethereal beetles are numerous in the forest understory at White Pines State Park near Oregon, Illinois.
Members of the approximately 7,000 species of the widely distributed insect family Cantharidae are commonly known as soldier beetles or blister beetles. It is thought the brightly-colored elytra , often striped or outlined in black, resemble soldiers’ uniforms.
There are 16 genera and 455 species of Cantharidae in North America. Adults are abundant on flowers and foliage where they feed on nectar, pollen, or other insects. Larvae of most species are carnivorous.
The Cantharidae family, which includes soldier beetles and blister beetles, is known for producing cantharidin, but the presence and quantity of this compound can vary between species. Some species of soldier beetles, including some in the genus Chauliognathus, are not known to produce cantharidin, while others may produce it in smaller quantities than blister beetles.