wrinkled soldier beetle

(Podabrus rugosulus)

Conservation Status
wrinkled soldier beetle
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

Podabrus rugosulus is a small soldier beetle that bears a passing resemblance to a lightning bug. It is very common in eastern United States east of the Great Plains and adjacent Canadian provinces. It is found from mid-May to mid-August on foliage in thickets, semi-open areas, fir plantations, apple orchards, tamarack bogs, and river shores.

The body is soft, somewhat flattened, and elongated, ¼ to (7 to 9 mm) long.

The exoskeletal plate covering the thorax (pronotum) is wider than long but no more than 1.5 times as wide as long. It is widest near the base, much narrower at the front (apex), and the sides are broadly curved (bowed) outward. It is straight across at the front and does not conceal the head. It is glossy, dark brown or black in the middle, pale or reddish-yellow at the sides, and covered with large, closed punctures. On each side near the middle there is a small, raised, five-sided projection (tubercle) pointing to the side.

The wing covers (elytra) are leathery, flexible, 2.5 times as long as wide, almost 5 times as long as the pronotum, and completely cover the abdomen. They are almost parallel near the base, gently arced in the middle, widest just beyond the middle, and rounded at the tip. They are rough, entirely black, have two slightly raised ridges, and are covered with minute punctures. The plate between the wing bases (scutellum) is well developed and visible but small and black.

The head is black. In front of the eyes it is wider than long. It narrows behind the eyes forming a distinct “neck” that is visible from above, not hidden by the pronotum. The edges of the collar-like plate wrapping around the head (postocciput) merge into a single closed suture (gular suture) on the throat. The face is yellow. The antennae have 11 segments and are dark brown to black. The third segment is longer than the second.

The legs are long, slender, and entirely black. The end part of each leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has 5 segments. The fourth segment is expanded and has a lobe on the underside. On both sexes the claw at the end of the tarsus is narrowly cleft and has a long triangular tooth.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: ¼ to

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Foliage in thickets, semi-open areas, fir plantations, apple orchards, tamarack bogs, and river shores.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Mid-May to mid-August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

These are heavy fliers. They do not travel far from their place of origin. On hot days they are active in the morning, become inactive at midday, and active again in the relatively cool evening.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

 

 
     
 

Larva Food

 
 

 

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Aphids. Adults have been reported preying on the balsam twig aphid (Mindarus abietinus), a European species that was introduced into North America in 1879 and now occurs from coast to coast.

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

24, 29, 30, 82.

 
  12/25/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Very common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Coleoptera (beetles)  
 

Suborder

Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf and snout beetles)  
 

Infraorder

Elateriformia  
 

Superfamily

Elateroidea (click, firefly and soldier beetles)  
 

Family

Cantharidae (soldier beetles)  
 

Subfamily

Cantharinae  
 

Tribe

Podabrini  
 

Genus

Podabrus  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

wrinkled soldier beetle

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Elytra

The hardened or leathery forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

 

 

 

 

       
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Alfredo Colon
       
  wrinkled soldier beetle    
       
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Alfredo Colon
6/10/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

wrinkled soldier beetle (Podabrus rugosulus)


     
     
 
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Created: 11/7/2018

Last Updated:

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