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Black-headed Cardinal Beetle

One of two similar cardinal beetles, this one has a red face whilst the other (P coccinea) is black.


  • 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.



Common Name Black-headed Cardinal Beetle
Scientific Name Pyrochroa coccinea
Species Group Soldier Cardinal and Click beetles
Interest Level
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Identification Notes
Primary Habitat
Preferred Environment
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Additional Identification Notes
Similar Species

The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail:

Notebook Distribution Map Sites List Some Charts Some Photographs Recent Records Guidance Notes

To see related species click here: 

Soldier Cardinal and Click beetles