The prey-spectrum of Cantharis-species in agricultural land

M. Traugott


Soldier beetles (Cantharidae) of the genus Cantharis are abundant in arable land. These predatory insects are known as natural enemies of invertebrate pests, but detailed knowledge of their prey spectrum was missing. In this project the prey-spectrum of three Cantharis-species in adult and larval stage was investigated by means of enzyme-electrophoresis.

It was found that larval Cantharis mainly feed on earthworms and soft bodied insect larvae. They, however, do not prey on slugs, as it was often assumed. Adults mainly feed on honeydew and nectar, whereas animal prey plays a secondary role in their diet. Therefore, especially the epigaeic larvae are important as natural enemies of agricultural pests such as caterpillars and dipteran larvae.


Funding: University of Innsbruck, Regional Government of Tyrol

Cantharidae Larve 

 Cantharidae Imago

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