Posts Tagged: soldier beetle
If you walk slowly into your garden or backyard, and observe your surroundings, you'll find them. A jumping spider perched on a rose leaf. A soldier beetle climbing out of a tulip. A syrphid fly, aka flower fly or hover fly, foraging on a poppy blossom.
The insects (and spiders!) are back. The springlike temperatures, accompanied by bursts of rain, mean that these tiny little critters are everywhere.
If you pop a macro lens on your single-lens reflex camera, or use the macro setting on your point-and-shoot camera, you'll get them. There's even a set of lenses (macro, wide-angle and telephoto) that magnetically attach to your I-phone camera.
Travelers say it's fun and educational to go to Africa on safari, but you can also go on a Bug Safari in your backyard. It won't cost nearly as much, you don't have to make reservations, you don't have to hire a tour guide, and you don't have to worry about a water buffalo charging you.
Or your credit card company charging you.
A jumping spider perched on a rose leaf. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A soldier beetle peers at the camera. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A syrphid or flower fly foraging on a poppy blossom. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Gotta love those solider beetles (family Cantharidae).
When an army of soldier beetles goes on patrol in your garden, just thank them. These "leatherwings" are there to mete out justice to the plant-sucking aphids and other undesirable critters. Aphids are high on their menu preferences. So are grasshopper eggs, caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects.
The Cantharids look almost comical as they scoot down limbs and leaves--and then suddenly run out of room. We watched this one (below) reach the end of a leaf. Its antennae twitching furiously, it paused and looked around for another foothold.
No more leaf. Just air. End of the line.
Soldier beetle (family Cantharidae) runs out of room. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)