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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  • If you were in the U.S., I'd guess it was a Firefly. – RBarryYoung Jun 8 '15 at 22:22
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    @RBarryYoung "I live in Denmark, Europe", which isn't in the US. – David Richerby Jun 8 '15 at 22:47
up vote 9 down vote accepted

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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    Just wondering, does the term "femur" also apply to insect anatomy? – March Ho Jun 9 '15 at 3:50
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    @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.) – augurar Jun 9 '15 at 4:41
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    @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. – fileunderwater Jun 9 '15 at 8:56
  • Interesting to hear. Im a physiotherapist and we use femur and tibia too. Thats cool its the same terminology in insects. – Lanka Jun 9 '15 at 11:54
  • @fileunderwater. Thank you for the added info and pics. – Lanka Jun 9 '15 at 11:55

The beetle resembles Soldier beetle, especially Cantharis lecontei

Soldier Beetles (Cantharidae) » Cantharinae » Cantharini » Cantharis

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  • Wow. That is exactly the one. Thank you very much. – Lanka Jun 8 '15 at 21:17
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    @Lanka you are always welcome %) – Ilan Jun 8 '15 at 21:18
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    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:) – Lanka Jun 8 '15 at 21:19
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    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 – Arioch Jun 9 '15 at 9:48
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    @Arioch. Thats and special behavior. Maybe its because the eggs like warm climate to hatch? – Lanka Jun 9 '15 at 11:53

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