There are forty one species of Cantharidae in Britain and almost all go by the common names of soldier or sailor beetle.

Below are Cantharus figurata and Cantharus nigricans, the first is tagged soldier beetle and the second sailor beetle but these common names are pretty much interchangeable.

Cantharidae are described as small to medium sized beetles, soft bodied, straight sided with leathery wings, and sometimes highly coloured. They all fly readily and can cover considerable distances.

All forty one species are predators in their adult stage. In the pictures, both beetles are resting on plants (nettles and hogweed) that are frequently visited by nectar feeders; excellent hunting grounds for the insects that feed on the nectar feeders.

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