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Related to Cantharidae: Cleridae, Meloidae, Tenebrionidae, Melyridae, Nitidulidae, Passalidae, Silphidae
a family of soft-bodied beetles having soft elytra. The body is up to 15 mm long; it is black, brown, yellow, or green with a metallic sheen. The antennae are generally filamentary. The beetles, which appear in early summer, are predators that lie in wait on flowers for their prey. The larvae are covered with soft hairs, which impart a velvety appearance. The larvae, which are also predators, are marked by extraintestinal digestion. They grasp their prey with their sharp jaws and release enzymes into it; this process liquefies the prey’s tissues so that they may be absorbed as food. On warm days wintering larvae may appear on the snow. There are approximately 3, 500 widely distributed species of Cantharidae. About 200 species, including the firefly Lampyrus noctiluca, are found in the USSR.