This is the largest family of beetles in a larger group known as Malacoderma, which is comprised of species generally rather lengthened, slightly \par chitinized, measuring from 3 to 17 mm length and whose elytra are sometimes short. The majority of the European species are of medium size, variegated, with the dark colours dominating however. Colouring is often so characteristic that it can be used for species identification.
Soldier beetles can be found from spring until summer on the flowers of herbaceous plants, trees and shrubs. Their sharp mandibles indicate predatory behaviour and in fact they feed on small insects, but eat often also pollen. Larvae live an underground existence and capture invertebrates. They can be found in autumn and winter.