Firefighter beetle (lat. Cantharidae, soft-core)-one of the relatives of bugs-drevoedes and fireflies. Adults of this species have an elongated body, thanks to which they seem more massive.
It was the unusual coloring that caused this name for the beetle: its color is black, but it has small red heels, and the body is brown or yellow, due to which the pattern similar to the flame is collected. In size, the firewomen are not particularly large and reach about two centimeters in length. There are no special differences between the female from the male, since sexual dimorphism is weakly expressed.
His body has a flattened shape with his head in the inside. At the same time, the whole body is particularly soft, despite the appearance of the insect. It was for this feature that the beetle received its second, better known name in the scientific community soft.
Lifestyle and behavior
Thanks to the cataridin (a substance contained in large quantities in the body of a firefighter beetle), the insect has the ability to protect against most enemies that do not particularly surpass it in size. This substance in its composition has toxic components, and it falls into the body of other creatures according to the same principle as the snake poison: the frightened insect bites its enemy and injects it through its teeth. When the striker becomes an immobilized victim, a special liquid comes out of the antennae of representatives of this species, resembling gastric juice in its composition. With the help of it, the beetle is able to soften the fabric of its prey and eat it.
If a fireman is overtaken by such a big threat that it is impossible to escape on the ground, which, for example, can be a person, individuals have to fly away or pretend to be dead. Since her speed of movement is not very large, to catch her in any case will not be problems. If you pick it up, the animal attacks its fangs in the hope that he will be released. The poison has no danger to a person, but his strength is enough to force the creature that is much superior in strength and size to unclench, after which the beetle will be able to escape.
Where it lives
There is no limited habitat for representatives of this type, since individuals are not picky for climatic conditions and are able to survive in any environment. As a place where the firefighter is unfolding his hunting grounds, forests and forest stacks are mainly.
In fact, firewoman beetles are useful insects for the garden, but most gardeners do not know this, mercilessly destroying them. Since this species is predatory, it hunts smaller pests, such as flies, aphids and other inhabitants not most favorable for garden crops. He attacks them, bites and injects the poison into them, and then he burns, thus cleansing the entire garden of the threat. In the future, in order to carefully digest your prey, digestive fluid comes out of their fangs, thinning tissue. It is noteworthy that the larvae are also predators and attack small invertebrates.
Firefighters are softbodied insects that multiply by laying eggs. A female of this species begins to dig a hole in loose earth and hides eggs there. Soon after this process, both parents die, and two weeks later, larvae appear from the eggs. In their appearance, they resemble beads strung on a thread.
Despite the soft body, firefighters are protected without special problems from attacks, thereby they do not have natural enemies among insects. But the danger is still present, since birds, small animals and other large creatures with a small insect eat it into food or crushing it without even noticing. A person who very often destroys the beetle very often does not know about its properties and benefits is a particular danger to the species.