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Soldier Beetle (R fulva)

An abundant species that adores umbellifer flowers, especially hogweed and wild parsnip as well as thistles.


  • Soldier Beetle: the bloodsucker

    Post date: Thursday, 10 July, 2014 - 00:00

    This soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva) must be the most common beetle in the British isles, it certainly is in Dorset.  They are around as adults from May through to August and they adore umbellifer flowers, especially hogweed and wild parsnip, and they also like thistles and knapweeds. In mid-summer there must be millions on flower heads across the county. 

    This little chap is the sometime called the bloodsucker beetle which is grossly unfair! It gets this name because of its blood-red colouring but it is totally harmless. The only things it is interested in are small pollen feeding insects on which they prey and other 'bloodsucker' beetles! 

    This is just one of the species commonly called soldier beetles. The origin of this colloquial name is obscure but it is probably either because their colouring resembles military uniforms (remember the famous Redcoats) or because they come in huge armies every summer. As not all soldier beetles are very common and are not found in armies I suspect it is their colour that gives them the name.


Common Name Soldier Beetle (R fulva)
Scientific Name Rhagonycha fulva
Species Group Soldier Cardinal and Click beetles
Interest Level
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Identification Notes
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Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Soldier Cardinal and Click beetles