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 soft-bodied insects

Colours are a warning to birds that they are distasteful


Until the following spring 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

  • Main photo
  • mating

Photo © Tony Gunton

Photo © Robert Welham