Belongs to: beetles

Soldier beetle Rhagonycha fulva

Best time to see: May to early Aug

Key facts

A very common little beetle often seen on the flat flowerheads of plants such as cow parsley and hogweed

Habitat: meadows

Very common all over Britain


Brown or black wing-cases with a red or black body, resembling a military uniform; length 1 cm

Often seen from May to July on the flowerheads of umbellifers, feeding on nectar and pollen

Colours are a warning to birds that they are distasteful


Females mate in early summer and lay their eggs in the soil

Through the autumn and winter, larvae feed on small invertebrates in the soil and leaf litter, such as springtails

A pupa forms in spring, emerging as an adult beetle from May onwards

© Tony Gunton

© Robert Welham