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Red-headed Cardinal Beetle Pyrochroa serraticornis

The Red-headed Cardinal Beetle is the spitting image of the Black-headed Cardinal Beetle, except for the colour of the head, of course. There is another difference though, reaching 10 to 14 mm the Red-headed Cardinal Beetle is the smallest of the two. But it too has the saw-shaped antennae, typical of this small family of beetles. It is sometimes confused with the Lilly Leaf Beetle. The latter is much more shiny and has not the long elogated body of the Red-headed Cardinal Beetle. It has a different set of antennae too.

The larvae of both species of Cardinal Beetle live in rotting wood or under the bark of dead trees, where they hunt for the larvae of other insects. It may take them two or even three years to complete development. The larvae grow quite big and may measure up to 30 mm. The black-headed species lives in woodlands exclusively. The Red-headed variety lives on the edges of woodlands, in parks and gardens. Actually any old rotting tree stump will do. It is also found on timber. It is therefore much more common than the Black-headed Cardinal Beetle and is regularly seen in gardens and parks as well.