Weekly Puzzler Answer #84

When I was seeing this critter, I felt strongly that it was the larva of some kind of beetle, but didn’t know which one. It was so common that it seemed like it had to be one I had seen–and photographed before. When I looked it up, I learned that this is the larva of a Goldenrod Soldier Beetle, a beetle you often can see on flowers. Here’s a picture of an adult Goldenrod Soldier Beetle on a daisy. Have you ever seen this insect?

Adult Goldenrod Soldier Beetle on a daisy.

Adult Goldenrod Soldier Beetle on a daisy.

 

Soldier beetles are beneficial and harmless insects so if you see one in your garden, you should let it be. As larva, they are fierce predators, feeding on the eggs and larva of other insects, including ones that may do damage to your plants. They live as larvae for 1 to 3 years before becoming winged adults. As adults, they feed mainly on pollen and nectar, though many online sources suggest they are also predators.

Soldier beetles got their names from their cloth-like wing covers that resemble uniforms of soldiers. There are many kinds of soldier beetles. Even though the adults can secrete a defensive chemical that makes they less tasty, they are eaten by many other creatures, including spiders, other insects, and birds. Check out this photo of a Soldier Beetle being devoured by an Assassin Bug. Yikes! You never know when your time on Earth is up–especially if you are an insect. Here’s a post about assassin bugs, if you are interested.

soldier--2

You may know (especially if you’ve been a subscriber here very long!) that there are A LOT of beetles in the world!

In fact, there are MORE species of beetles than there are kinds of plants on the entire earth!

Biologists have identified more than 300,000 different species, though they suspect that number is much, much higher. New species are being discovered all of the time.

A ladybug is another kind of beetle, as is a firefly. Both are misnamed! As they are neither bugs nor flies, but beetles!

Click HERE for the next puzzler! It’s about THE most famous creature of Halloween.

Have a fabulous day and weekend! Happy Halloween!

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