Cantharis nigricans


Length 9 to 11 mm. The elytra appear grey from the coating of short flat hairs amongst the longer ones. The yellow-orange pronotum may have a central darker mark and typically has a lighter orange ring around the edge. There is a broad black band on the hind legs at the tip of the femora (broader than that in the similar C. pellucida). Usually, the mid tibia are orange, though older specimens may show some darkening.

Similar Species

Cantharis pellucida has narrow black bands at the tip of the femora, not broad like those on C. nigricans.

Identification difficulty
ID checklist (your specimen should have all of these features)

Your specimen should have these features:

  • 8-11mm
  • grey elytra (with short flat hairs)
  • orange pronotum (may also have dark markings in the centre)
  • paler rim around the pronotum
  • broad black bands at the tips of the femora

Hedgerows and flower meadows where they visit blossom and flowers such as Hogweed.

When to see it

Peaking May to July

Life History

Cantharidae larvae live on the ground and are carnivorous, feeding on smaller insects. The adults are also carnivorous, but are greatly attracted to flowers where they hunt other flower-visiting insects.

UK Status

Widespread and quite common in Britain.

VC55 Status

Common in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
23/06/1979 (Don Goddard)
Last record:
13/06/2024 (Gaten, Ted)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

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