Red-headed Cardinal Beetle

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle ©David Longshaw

Red-headed Cardinal Beetle

Scientific name: Pyrochroa serraticornis
A bright red beetle, with black legs and knobbly antennae, the Red-headed Cardinal Beetle lives up to its name. Look for it in woodland, along hedgerows and in parks and gardens over summer.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 2cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to July

About

The Red-headed Cardinal Beetle is a medium-sized beetle found in woodland, along hedgerows, and in parks and gardens. The adults are present during the summer and can often be found sunbathing on flowers or tree trunks. They are predators and feed on other insects flying around the flowers on which they are perched. The larvae are flattened in appearance, which enables them to live under loose bark where they feed on the larvae of other insects.

How to identify

The Red-headed Cardinal Beetle is bright red, with black legs and long, black, toothed antennae. There are two other species of cardinal beetle in the UK, both of which have black heads. The Black-headed Cardinal Beetle (Pyrochroa coccinea) is rare, but found in similar habitats; while the Scarce Cardinal Beetle (Schizotus pectinicornisis) is only found in Birch woodland at a few sites in Scotland and Wales.

Distribution

Found in England and Wales.

Did you know?

Red-headed Cardinal Beetles are similar to Lily Beetles in appearance, but the latter have a much more rounded body and their wing cases are covered in dimples. The Lily Beetle was introduced into the UK in the 1900s, arriving on imported flowers.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.