The beetle known as Cantharis livida is a variable beetle within the family Cantharidae. The specimen pictured here was photographed in Bristol, UK. In Europe it is sometimes referred to as the Yellow Soft-wing or Variable Soft-wing.
HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
Preferred habitats for C. livida include gardens, parks, meadows and woodlands where they can be found on low lying vegetation (especially umbelliferous flowers and thistles). Widespread through most of the UK (except central and northern Scotland), this species is also present in Europe, Asia and North Africa.
C. livida reaches 10 - 15mm in length. Its colouration is variable but usually the head, body and legs are orange-red with metallic gold elytra (wing cases). The hind legs darken on the tibia and parts of the femora as do the antennae for the majority of their length. The head also has a dark mark at its base,
DIET, BEHAVIOUR AND REPRODUCTION
The adult C. livida can be observed from May to August, with June and July being their peak months. It is a predator, hunting other small insects, its larvae live on the ground and feed on worms and snails.
OTHER NOTABLE INFORMATION
C. livida appears similar to the Common Soldier Beetle (Cantharis cryptica) and the Pale Soldier Beetle (Cantharis pallida), but both lack the darker areas on the hindlegs and antennae and are a lot smaller. There is a darker form of this species, Cantharis livida f.rufipes, which has dark (almost black) elytra.