The soldier beetles (Cantharidae) are rather flat, straight sided and soft-bodied species. They are normally quite colorful, e.g. red and black, hence the common name of the family. There are phytophagous as well as predacious species. The latter prey on aphids, caterpillars and other soft-bodied small insects. They supplement their diet with nectar and pollen. Worldwide approx. 4500 species are known, in Germany 86 species have been recorded. The small to medium-sized beetles are usually found in forests, on meadows and in gardens. A number of species can visits flowers and blossoms. The larvae feed on small insects, snails and worms. Occasionally they can be observed during winter crawling in the snow.