blister beetle genus Tegrodera, sometimes referred to as soldier beetles (though this
common name is technically reserved for the family Cantharidae),
includes three very similar species confined to
Although large and conspicuous, virtually nothing is known about the larval biology of Tegrodera. Based on data from related genera we assume that larvae feed on the provisions and immatures of soil-nesting bees. Adult behavior includes certain interesting peculiarities. The name soldier beetle derives from their occasional habit of following one another in single file formation. Their common response to endangerment is the so-called “frightening attitude”. This involves the sudden elevation of the elytra, which exposes the brilliant red abdominal intersegmental membranes, and a simultaneous rapid movement away from the stimulus. It is suggested that such an abrupt appearance of warning coloration and the apparent increase in body size may, at least initially, intimidate potential predators. Male courtship behavior in Tegrodera is unique. The individual illustrated is a male as can be determined by the pair of grooved depressions on its head. During courtship the male and female face each other, and the male grasps the female’s antennae with his own and repeatedly pulls them in and out of his head grooves where a stimulatory compound of some sort is presumably exuded.
©2006 ERM-UC Riverside