Plague Soldier Beetle Click to enlarge image
Plague Soldier Beetle Image: unknown
© unknown

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    lugubris
    Genus
    Chauliognathus
    Subfamily
    Chauliognathinae
    Family
    Cantharidae
    Super Family
    Elateroidea
    Suborder
    Polyphaga
    Order
    Coleoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    1cm - 1.3 cm

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

Habitat

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

Distribution

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

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 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.