Here’s a pair of Common Red Soldier Beetles busy making baby beetles amongst the flowers of the Hills and Hollows at Bradlaugh Fields. No wonder there’s so many of them! They are especiallly fond of hanging out on Thistle and, as here, Umbellifer flowers, the ones in the photo belonging to the Upright Hedge Parsley illustrated earlier this week.
These soldier beetles are chiefly carnivorous, catching and eating smaller insects such as flies, which visit the flowers.
A.J. Silverside at Lastdragon.org:
It is one of several soldier beetles (mostly in the genus Cantharis) that can be seen on umbellifers. Many are brightly coloured, at least in part, usually orange or combinations of orange and black. Being variable in colour and size, they are regarded as difficult to identify. Rhagonycha fulva is orange but the tips of the elytra (wing-cases) are black. It is typically 7-10 mm in length. Like other soldier beetles it is relatively soft-bodied, the elytra being thin and rather flimsy, which perhaps relates to the fact that it spends much more time in flight than do most beetles …
Rhagonycha fulva is part of a community of beetles and other insects that can be seen on flowers.