- Author: 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.