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Species Notebook:

  • Black-headed Cardinal Beetle

    • Cardinal Beetle: catholic in taste

      Post date: Thursday, 4 September, 2014 - 00:00

      Little soldier beetles are everywhere in the countryside in July and August and, if you like beetles as I do, it is a good time to take a closer look as amongst the three common reddish coloured soldiers you may find something like this cardinal beetle (Pyrochroa serraticornis). Looking at it it is not difficult to see why it was named the cardinal beetle; the scarlet colour of its wing cases matches a cardinal's robes and the thorax it also resembles the shape of a cardinal's hat. It is doubly aptly named.

      This particular species, Pyrochroa serraticornis, has a scarlet head as well, there is a similar species with a black head called Pyrochroa coccinea (see below).

      You can find cardinal beetles on flower heads, especially umbelliferae and thistles, but it is not a pollen hunter itself, it preys on small insects that are pollen hunters. Its larvae are also insect eaters but they live in rotting tree stumps and trunks. 

      A smartly dressed little insect and worthy of attention in my view.



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