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I live in Denmark, Europe and I found this insect wandering around in my garden the other day. It's some kind of beetle, but I don't know what kind it is or the species. The beetle could also fly and had red wings beneath its armor.

Help would be much appreciated. Thank you.

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  • $\begingroup$ If you were in the U.S., I'd guess it was a Firefly. $\endgroup$ Jun 8, 2015 at 22:22
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    $\begingroup$ @RBarryYoung "I live in Denmark, Europe", which isn't in the US. $\endgroup$ Jun 8, 2015 at 22:47

2 Answers 2

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As @Ilan wrote, this is a Cantharidae but most probably Cantharis fusca, which is very common species in northern Europe. Cantharis rustica is similar but has reddish femurs and the black spot is more centered on the pronotum. It is not C. lecontei, which is a North American species.

If you go looking at flowers of Anthriscus sylvestris for an hour or two, you will most likely see at least Cantharis fusca, Cantharis rustica and Cantharis obscura - they are all very common in Scandinavia during early spring/summer. The larvae of all these species live on the ground/in plant litter as predators.

Cantharis fusca
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Cantharis rustica .................... Cantharis obscura
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    $\begingroup$ Just wondering, does the term "femur" also apply to insect anatomy? $\endgroup$
    – March Ho
    Jun 9, 2015 at 3:50
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    $\begingroup$ @MarchHo Yes, although of course they are not homologous to vertebrate limbs. The first segment of an insect's leg is called the femur, the next the tibia, and so on. (Gotta call them something I guess.) $\endgroup$
    – augurar
    Jun 9, 2015 at 4:41
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    $\begingroup$ @MarchHo As augurar wrote; yes its called femur, which is defined as the first long segement of an insect's leg, between the trochanter and the tibia. $\endgroup$ Jun 9, 2015 at 8:56
  • $\begingroup$ Interesting to hear. Im a physiotherapist and we use femur and tibia too. Thats cool its the same terminology in insects. $\endgroup$
    – user14636
    Jun 9, 2015 at 11:54
  • $\begingroup$ @fileunderwater. Thank you for the added info and pics. $\endgroup$
    – user14636
    Jun 9, 2015 at 11:55
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The beetle resembles Soldier beetle, especially Cantharis lecontei

Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae) » Cantharinae » Cantharini » Cantharis

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  • $\begingroup$ Wow. That is exactly the one. Thank you very much. $\endgroup$
    – user14636
    Jun 8, 2015 at 21:17
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    $\begingroup$ @Lanka you are always welcome %) $\endgroup$
    – Ilan
    Jun 8, 2015 at 21:18
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    $\begingroup$ Can i ask you how in the world you knew that? It says that the beetle was found in the US. Im amazed that we have the little guy also here in Denmark. So cool:) $\endgroup$
    – user14636
    Jun 8, 2015 at 21:19
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    $\begingroup$ interesting that in Russia this one is called "A fireman beetle" - жук-пожарник - for it reportedly likes to put eggs into warm ashes if he can find some $\endgroup$
    – Arioch
    Jun 9, 2015 at 9:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Arioch. Thats and special behavior. Maybe its because the eggs like warm climate to hatch? $\endgroup$
    – user14636
    Jun 9, 2015 at 11:53

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