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Manitoba Museum

Beetles (Coleoptera)

Soldier Beetles


This beetle family consists of more than 5,000 species worldwide, and is found throughout North America. Some Soldier Beetles are predators on pest species such as aphids, and can be seen on foliage as they search for prey. Others act as pollinators, and are known to frequent flowers for their nectar and pollen. They are mainly active during the day, and commonly found on goldenrods.

Representative Genera and Species:

Rhagonycha excavata

Pollinator Life Cycle:

These beetles have four life stages: egg, larva (commonly called grubs), pupa, and adult. Females deposit their eggs in small clusters. After hatching, the larvae feed on insects, insect eggs, and other larvae. They over-winter in the soil at this stage, pupating there in the spring.

Rarity Status:

The status of Canadian species has not yet been assessed, and none are legally protected.

Physical Appearance:

These beetles are elongated (1 – 15 mm in length) and slightly flattened. They have soft bodies and rectangular, leather-like elytra (wing-cases). They look similar to Fire Flies (Lampyridae) overall, but have heads that are visible from above. They have long legs with five obvious segments, prominent eyes, and long, thread-like antennae. Colouration is typically black with dark yellow, orange, or red markings.

Pollinator Habitat:

Adults are often found on flowering plants and other vegetation, sometimes along the edges of water bodies. Larvae tend to be common in leaf litter, loose soil, and rotten wood.

Canadian Distribution:

  • Alberta
  • British Columbia
  • Manitoba
  • New Brunswick
  • Newfoundland/Labrador
  • Northwest Territories
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
  • Ontario
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Quebec
  • Saskatchewan
  • Yukon

Prairie Types:

  • Fescue Prairie
  • Mixed Grass Prairie
  • Tall Grass Prairie
Soldier Beetles