Bird Families

Wingless red-bug (soldier bug): description of the species, benefits and harm to humans


The jumping mechanism of the clickers is as follows. On the underside of the prothorax, between the bases of the legs, there is an elongated process, which, in the calm state of the beetle, enters the fossa located behind. When the beetle falls back, it, pressing its legs, bends so that the process of the prothorax emerges from the mesothoracic fossa and abuts against the posterior edge of this fossa. With the next movement of the chest, the process jumps off the support with force and enters the fossa, and the beetle, which received a strong push, jumps up and usually falls to its feet. If the first time he does not succeed, then he can jump a few more times until he is lucky. Clickers jump high: a 1 cm long beetle jumps about 10 cm in height.

This mechanism, characteristic of the click bearers, clearly demonstrates the differences in the organization of insects from vertebrates. Vertebrates are not capable of such adaptations: they weigh much more, so it is dangerous to throw themselves to a height of several body lengths and flop wherever they hit. In addition, the very mechanism of the "jump" of the clicker - or, rather, tossing oneself, you cannot call it a jump - is based on the presence of hard and elastic external integuments, which vertebrates do not have. And at the same time, a unique mechanism serves such a generally simple task as a coup from back to belly. The insects seem to be cheap with rather sophisticated devices, and they regularly "invent a microscope to hammer nails with them."

There are many examples of such "over-adaptations" among insects. Such "absurdities" (from the point of view of vertebrates, to which the researchers of insects belong) are explained by the fact that insects live in a different world than vertebrates. This is a different size class, a world of much smaller mass, different temperatures, a different environment - in this sense, insects live on another planet. They feel the electromagnetic field by mechanoreceptors - as if our hair stood on end and we could determine the vector of the electromagnetic field by their slope. They feel the smell in a volumetric way, as we, for example, feel any thing. They see a different spectrum of rays - ultraviolet, for example. And in their world it turns out to be easier to turn yourself into a catapult and its projectile at the same time, than to make your legs more authentic and turn over "like all people."

It is assumed that the click can be used by clickers for various purposes, for example, not only to take a normal position from an inverted position, but also to avoid danger (clickers often “click” from a normal, non-inverted position). Other insects use the same mechanism: with their extreme "myopia" (clear vision for a few millimeters), it is enough to throw oneself a few centimeters in any direction for the predator to lose sight of the prey. For this reason, grasshoppers jump, fleeing from enemies. There are also jumping ants. These rest against the ground with their open jaws, and then snap them with force, so that the ant itself is thrown a few centimeters away.

It is also possible that clickers use "clicking" movements when passing through dense substrates: "clicking" pushes the soil particles apart. The point of view has also been expressed that the beetle thus increases the supply of oxygen to the body. There are observations that clickers jump more often during sexual activity and rarely after mating. In short, it is not known exactly why the clicker is jumping. Most likely, there is no single reason for this: the clicker uses the jump for various purposes.

In general, beetles solve the problem of a coup from back to belly in different ways, and almost every species independently searches for a solution to this important problem. Some people guess to cling to the surrounding objects with their paws, and thus turn over. Others practice over-head flips, and their antagonists are convinced that the easiest way to roll over is through the end of the abdomen. Some roll over, lifting the body on the antennae ("whisker stand" is a good exercise), others - rise on protruding elytra, even trying to fly in the "supine" position, the next work out complex somersaults using different pairs of legs.

However, the “click” is not the only surprising feature of this group of beetles. In the tropical forests of South America, live the so-called fire-carrying clickers, which received the name "kokuyo" from the American Spaniards. These insects are capable of emitting such a strong light that several beetles (large, up to 5 cm), planted in a jar, can replace the lamp and be used to illuminate the road at night.

The red-winged nutcracker is festively colored: the pronotum is black, and the elytra are bright red, all covered with black down. Adult beetles feed on plant food and live in forests, in rotten wood, under bark. Since the body of the clickers (and also of the longhorn beetles and some other beetles) is long, folding their wings is simple: just one transverse folding is enough to remove the wings under the elytra. The Nutcracker folds the wings one at a time - first folds and removes one, then takes the second. Beetles have such long elytra for a reason: they perform synchronous flaps with their wings in flight.

Clickers usually mate openly on plant leaves, and some species even swarm around the tops of young trees. After mating, the female lays eggs under lumps of soil, in her cracks. The larvae of click beetles are called "wireworms" for their hard integument and elongated body shape. Many of them develop in the soil and are pests of agricultural crops, damaging their roots and roots. There is, for example, such a pest as the sowing nutcracker Agriotes sputator, whose larvae live in the soil and eat cereal seeds in spring. The larvae of click beetles are actively looking for growing shoots and plant seeds in the soil. It turns out that young plants secrete a certain set of amino acids during growth, and wireworms are able to sense the presence of these substances in the soil solution. Having sensed a seedling, they quickly move towards it along the gradient of substances and, when they reach it, eat up the roots. In some genera of click beetles (Adelocera conspersa, A. fasciata, Denticollis), the larvae are predators, feeding on various invertebrates in rotten wood.

The larva of the red-winged nutcracker, like that of other clickers, has a very hard body, which helps it to push the particles of rotten wood apart. The wedge-shaped head pushes between the wood particles and pushes them apart, and the outgrowths at the posterior end of the larva's body serve as an abutment so that when the head is pressed by the head, the larva does not move back. The elastic dense body transfers the force well from the rear stop to the front "bulldozer". After pupation, a young beetle appears. Coming out of the chrysalis, he makes his way to the light. characteristic "clicking" movements. The device of the legs of the clicker is such that with his feet he cannot push off and crawl out of the soil - he has to move up with the help of the movements of the prothorax.

The nutcracker Lacon murinus is very common in Russia, the larva of which lives in the soil and feeds on the roots of plants, and the beetle itself is gray, covered with scales that form a pattern of different shades. Clickers of the genus Corymbites with soil herbivorous larvae are also common. An interesting clicker Cardiophorus ruficollis, the larva of which - by its general appearance is a common wireworm - carries an additional false segmentation on the body - for greater mobility, it can not only wedge litter particles, but also bend, following a bizarre course.

The namesake of the red-winged nutcracker - Ampedus sanguineus, common in the Moscow region, lives very differently than the soil-borne red-winged nutcracker. Females lay eggs under the peeled bark of coniferous trees (and birches), in the passages of longhorn beetles. The larvae live for a long time, sometimes as much as 5 years, and pupate at the end of summer in the pupal cradle - a small cavity, slightly larger than the pupa in size. Young beetles emerge from the pupa in August, but they do not leave the pupa's cradle: winter is coming. After overwintering in the cradle, the beetle comes out only next spring. It turns out that the beetle lives for almost a year, and the entire life cycle takes up to 6 years. And the extremely close species A. cinnabarinus is the same in everything, only prefers broad-leaved trees.

Wingless red-bug (soldier bug): description of the species

The insect belongs to the order of hemiptera, the family of redbirds. The Latin name for the soldier bug is Pyrrhocoris Apterus. It has a small size - about 9-11 mm. Most of the insect's body is colored black, and the pronotum, elytra and ventral rim are red. There are also individuals that are orange.

At first glance, it seems that absolutely all the soldiers have the same color. But this is not the case. In various insect habitats, about 13-23 types of pronotal patterns can be distinguished.

Scientists believe that where there are high levels of heavy metals and other types of soil contamination, insects have body asymmetries. If conditions are favorable, then a large black spot appears on the shield. There are other irregularities in the patterns on the integument of the body: for example, you can see individuals who have two non-contiguous stripes on the body, or the lower stripe is torn in the middle.

The wings of the insect do not reach the end of the abdomen, the elytra are leathery and half covered with membranes.

The mouth organs of the piercing-sucking type soldier bug are located in the front of the head. The proboscis is strong, segmented and sharp; it can easily pierce the leaves, seeds and chitinous integuments of deceased invertebrates. The proboscis is usually removed; the insect shows it only when necessary.

The eyes are spherical and large in size. The antennae of the insect are long, consist of 4 segments. The metathorax contains the scent glands. The legs of the wingless redbird are running.

Despite the fact that the insect is called "wingless", some individuals have wings.

Where do soldier bugs live?

The wingless redlops can be seen in all places of the Palaearctic. On the western side, their habitat is limited to the Atlantic coast. The insect was introduced to North America and can also be seen in northern China, Asia and India.

In Russia, soldier bugs can be seen in any area, even in those areas where the climate is harsh, in particular, in Siberia.

The main habitat of the wingless redbird is deciduous forests, meadows, clearings, recreation centers. In the villages and hamlets, they live in household plots.

What is the lifestyle of the wingless redbird?

The toy soldiers are terrestrial members of the family. They are among the first to wake up after hibernation. Already in March, as soon as the snow melts, they can be seen at the base of the lindens. The wingless redblogs have no natural enemies, so they do not hide and lead an open lifestyle.

Insects are active from March to September-October, with the first frost they hibernate. In winter, the soldiers hide under the bark of trees, in the crevices of stumps and under heaps of leaves.

Insects live in colonies. At the beginning of summer, they have a small number, but by the end of autumn the colony can number tens of thousands of individuals.

The lifespan of bedbugs and their fertility may vary depending on the living conditions. Temperature has a particularly noticeable effect.

What do the soldiers eat?

They have a mixed diet. Insects suck sap from plants, fruits and seeds that have fallen to the ground. Larvae and adults feed on organic debris, in particular, on the corpses of invertebrates.

The diet of wingless redbirds includes dead insects - beetle larvae, wasps, aphids. The soldiers take the bulk of their food from the ground; they can also climb onto plants.

Soldier bug: reproduction

A feature of these insects is incomplete transformation, that is, there is no pupal stage in their life cycle. In the spring, the soldiers mate. In each colony of males there are 2-3 times more females. For reproduction, males are attached with their bellies to females and in a hitch, with their backs to each other, move for several hours and even days.

The copulation process lasts so long (from 0.5 to 7 days), since this is a mechanism for protecting the ejaculate of the male in conditions of fierce competition.

The female lays eggs in the ground or under a layer of dead plants. The eggs of soldier bugs are oval in shape and white translucent color. The female lays about 20-30 eggs.

Embryonic development lasts 1-1.5 weeks under normal conditions. If the temperature is below + 18 ° C, then this phase can take up to 3.5 weeks. At the end of this period, the eggs change their color and turn yellow-red.

In conditions of low temperature, the eggs decrease in size, therefore, the larvae from them appear small. Such larvae often become prey for larger relatives.

In total, the larvae go through 5 stages. It can take 17-24 days for them to mature. If the temperature drops below + 14-15 ° C, then the nymphs stop feeding, and therefore, develop. In appearance, they are similar to adults, but the larvae have no elytra.

In the northern regions, one generation is replaced per year, and in the southern regions - two. Nymphs that appeared in May become sexually mature in June, begin to mate and reproduce. In autumn, adults of the second generation leave for wintering.

What harm do soldier bugs do?

The wingless redlogs are not considered agricultural pests. In fact, they are cleaners, since they eat fruits and seeds that have fallen to the ground, as well as organic debris.

Such changes are associated with the large reproduction of these insects, as well as with their mutation.

The wingless redbirds pierce the surface of leaves or fruits with their proboscis and suck out their juice.

Signs that soldier bugs have appeared on the personal plot:

  • drying berries,
  • yellow spots on cabbage leaves,
  • deformation of the tops of carrots, beets, dill,
  • rolled leaves in cereals,
  • the death of umbrella-flowering herbs (dill, etc.),
  • slow growth of seedlings.

Soldier bug: how to get rid of? Control methods

If wingless redbirds began to harm your plantings, then you need to get rid of them. There are different ways to control these insects.

Mechanical methods

In the spring, at the summer cottage, you can easily find soldier bugs in sunny areas, since they live in flocks and have a bright color. Getting rid of insects is simple: they can be swept away with a broom into a bucket or basin and thrown away in another area where they will not interfere.

But keep in mind that insects move very quickly, so you certainly won't be able to catch everyone.

Another option is to use a sticky coated cloth. It needs to be fixed around the tree trunk closer to the ground. Insects will stick to the trap, which will also help reduce their numbers.

Chemical methods

This method should only be used if the soldier bugs are causing really severe damage.

To fight insects, you need to use insecticides. For example, Bankol is a popular remedy. This drug is odorless and safe for humans and pets. By the way, it helps in the fight against the Colorado potato beetle.

Popular remedies are also Karbofos and Aktara.

Traditional methods

Soldier bugs on a branch

If you do not want to use toxic drugs, then there are other, alternative methods. For example, soldier bugs can be scared away with the help of the usual infusion of onion peels. To prepare it, you need to take 200 g of onion husks, mix with 10 liters of water and leave for 5 days. After that, it is necessary to spray with infusion the places where wingless redbirds live.

Another simple recipe is to use a mustard solution. It is necessary to dissolve 100 g of mustard per 8 liters, treat trees and stumps with the resulting mixture, where an accumulation of soldier bugs is noticed.

You can also use wood ash or laundry soap instead of mustard.

Fragrant plants will also help scare the soldier bugs away from your area. Such plants include wormwood and black cohosh. Black cohosh is an erect and unbranched plant with a thick root system. It measures approximately 15 cm long and 40 cm wide. Black cohosh has an unpleasant odor for insects.

How to prevent the appearance of soldier bugs on the site?

It is much easier to prevent the appearance of insects in the summer cottage than to get rid of them.

To prevent the settlement of soldier bugs in the garden, you need:

  • uproot all the stumps on the site, since they are the favorite habitat of these insects,
  • remove all boards and other lumber, old tree branches and debris,
  • plant plants with a strong and odorous odor that will scare away wingless redbirds, for example, wormwood or black cohosh.

The appearance of soldier bugs in the garden most often does not interfere with housekeeping. On the contrary, they eat up unnecessary debris in the soil. But if, nevertheless, insects began to harm, then you can get rid of them in different ways.

The status of the species on the territory of the country and in adjacent regions

The species is listed in the Red Data Books and is protected in the Tambov region (cat. 4) and the Republic of Mordovia (cat. 2). In Lipetsk and Penza regions, it is included in the lists of species in need of constant control and observation.


Body length 9-22 mm. Pronotum with very sparse hairs, almost glabrous, covered with coarse punctures, with a well-developed acute tubercle along the lateral margin. The body is black. Elytra are red with a large black spot. The apex of the elytra is usually red, with flat and fairly regular punctures, the spaces between the punctures here form a rather regular cellular network of wrinkles, the black spot of the elytra, at least in its posterior half, is dull.

Distribution and numbers

Central and southern Europe. In Russia, it is distributed in the steppe and forest-steppe zones, reaching the Urals in the east. Keller's red-winged barbel lives in the Crimea, the Caucasus and Transcaucasia. In the north it reaches the Nizhny Novgorod region. In the Ryazan region, it is extremely rare, meetings are known from Spassky (1972, OGPBZ) (1) and Shatsky (18 / VII 1998, Ilyukhino village) (2) districts.

Habitats and biology

The flight of beetles is from mid-May to mid-August. Beetles are found on the trunks of forage trees, on flowers. Keller's red-winged barbel inhabits deciduous forests and gardens. The larvae live in the wood of dead or weakened deciduous trees (oak, willow, rabinia, poplar, cherry, etc.). Generation is 2-3 years old.