Animal Species:Plague Soldier Beetle

The Plague Soldier Beetle (family Cantharidae) is a common visitor to Sydney and many New South Wales gardens.

Standard Common Name

Plague Soldier Beetle

Size range

1cm - 1.3 cm

Distribution

The Plague Soldier Beetle is found in south-western and south-eastern Australia.

Habitat

The Plague Soldier Beetle lives in urban areas, forest, heath, woodland.

Seasonality

This species of soldier beetle is called the Plague Soldier Beetle by gardeners because vast numbers of them appear on plants through spring, summer and autumn.

Feeding and Diet

The Plague Soldier Beetle is omnivorous, feeding on other insects and plants. The larvae live on the ground and prey on other insects.

Other behaviours and adaptations

When handled, the Plague Soldier Beetle releases poisonous chemicals as a deterrent to predators.

Economic/social impacts

The Plague Soldier Beetle infests blossoms of native trees, fruit trees, vegetable plants and other garden plants in such numbers that they can actually weigh down weaker plants. While this may be distressing to gardeners, the plants do not suffer much. This may be because the beetles are too interested in mating to bother eating the plants. Scientists found that in one such infestation 92% of the animals were copulating.

Classification

Species:
lugubris
Genus:
Chauliognathus
Subfamily:
Chauliognathinae
Family:
Cantharidae
Superfamily:
Elateroidea
Suborder:
Polyphaga
Order:
Coleoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthopoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags beetles, insects, arthropods, invertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,

1 comment

kengroves - 10.01 AM, 29 January 2012
I have a heavy infestation of plague soldier beetles in a part of my garden. I think it may be associated with an exceptionally heavy flowering of a large southern blue gum. I have never had these beetles in my garden before. I live in Aranda, ACT 2614

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