Beautiful Redhead

This is a post about the Red–headed Cardinal Beetle, a black beetle with a red head. Apparently this beetle is often confused with the Lily Beetle (Black head) and the Black-headed Cardinal Beetle (Black head) so a key identification feature to look for in the Red-headed Cardinal Beetle is a red head.

Red-headed Cardinal BeetleI took these pictures a few days ago and I was holding out for a few more before I posted them but since then it has rained steadily every day.

You should be able to find them easily if you live in the UK. They like to sunbathe on leaves in the hedgerow or woodland edge and they are easy to spot, large and red, the phrase “like a sore thumb” comes to mind. But a sunny day would be best.

They are fun and they want to be photographed.

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle Red-headed Cardinal Beetle Red-headed Cardinal BeetleThey like to tease. When they are thinking about flying they open their elytra very, very slowly.

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle Red-headed Cardinal Beetle Giving you plenty of time to line up the shot.Red-headed Cardinal Beetle(The elytra are hardened fore wings, beetles have four wings like most insects but the front pair harden into wing cases)

When they do fly they don’t go very far, often just to the next leaf.

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle Red-headed Cardinal Beetle Red-headed Cardinal Beetle 11I get so frustrated when a beetle just stands there and won’t move.

“Go on then, take lots of pictures. I’m interesting.”

Red-headed Cardinal BeetleSo I love this little fellow.

Red-headed Cardinal BeetleRed-headed Cardinal Beetle, Pyrochroa serraticornis. A large red beetle with black legs and black toothed antennae it also has a red head. It is a predator catching other insects as they fly past. It is quite poorly camouflaged and I am guessing that it’s colour is intended as a warning to birds that it probably tastes bad or is poisonous. It flies from early May until the end of July.

Pyrochroa serraticornis

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