Plague Soldier Beetle
The Plague Soldier Beetle (family Cantharidae) is a common visitor to Sydney and many New South Wales gardens.
The Plague Soldier Beetle lives in urban areas, forest, heath, woodland.
The Plague Soldier Beetle is found in south-western and south-eastern Australia.
This species of soldier beetle is called the Plague Soldier Beetle by gardeners because vast numbers of them appear on plants through spring, summer and autumn.
Feeding and diet
The Plague Soldier Beetle is omnivorous, feeding on other insects and plants. The larvae live on the ground and prey on other insects.
Other behaviours and adaptations
When handled, the Plague Soldier Beetle releases poisonous chemicals as a deterrent to predators.
The Plague Soldier Beetle infests blossoms of native trees, fruit trees, vegetable plants and other garden plants in such numbers that they can actually weigh down weaker plants. While this may be distressing to gardeners, the plants do not suffer much. This may be because the beetles are too interested in mating to bother eating the plants. Scientists found that in one such infestation 92% of the animals were copulating.