Smile! The world is a beautiful place (^_^)


The cardinal beetle is actually three different species of beetles.  The most common one is the Red-headed cardinal (Pyrochroa serraticornis), which is an orange-red beetle with a – duh – read head. It’s about 2 cm long and easy to spot as it kind of glows (in the closeup shot below you can see the color is kind of red metallic). The Black-headed cardinal (Pyrochroa coccinea) has a – uhm – black head and is rarer, slightly larger and its body has a deeper blood-red color. The third kind is the Scarce cardinal (Schizotus pectinicornis), it also has a black head but is less than 1 cm long.

Cardinal beetles prey on other insects, while their bright red color prevents them from being targeted by other predators because red usually means toxic in the bug world.

If you see a beetle with red wings and black underside and wonder if it’s a cardinal beetle or not, the easiest tell is to look at the antennae: Cardinals have toothed antennae. It’s often confused with the Scarlet lily beetle, which is smaller and usually found eating lily leaves.

Black-headed cardinal (Pyrochroa coccinea)

Red-headed cardinal (Pyrochroa serraticornis)

Orange-red metallic

Those toothed antennae

A failed attempt of photographing a flying cardinal beetle, but ended up with an interesting bokeh shot instead

14 responses

  1. What a lovely beetle, well caught!

    May 26, 2018 at 5:38 PM

  2. Superb!!!

    May 26, 2018 at 5:39 PM

  3. These are such lovely beetles. Lovely photos, Camilla!

    May 26, 2018 at 6:12 PM

  4. Great set of images, Camilla 😎 I like the choice and the order of the images – from the quite wide shot, up to the close up, macro shot and then the head on shot with beating wings and those toothed antennae.
    And, of course, that lovely final shot of the mottled background and the ‘missing’ beetle! We’ve all got lots of images like that, I would guess,🙂🙂
    Have a great week. Daphne says Hi!!

    May 26, 2018 at 6:16 PM

    • Thanks so much, John! 🙂 Oh so many times, I’ve been tempted to post a bug-empty photo saying “It was right here, I swear!!”.
      Have a great week you too, and give my regards to Daphne! ☀️

      May 26, 2018 at 7:59 PM

  5. Beautiful pictures Camilla, the toothed antennae is my favourite!

    May 27, 2018 at 4:27 PM

    • Thanks so much, Greta! 🙂 That’s the one I liked best as well.

      May 27, 2018 at 6:24 PM

  6. Your last shot is what the beetle sees, when coming home from a really long day…. 😉 These are superb, Camilla! We don’t have this little beauty in the US, too bad. What an amazing series of views you have here, just beautiful!

    May 29, 2018 at 1:56 AM

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