01 May 2014

Black-Headed Cardinal beetle (Pyrochroa coccinea)

It's a bank holiday, nobody's home except for me, birds are singing and I was thinking "Eh, I could blog something", but there really wasn't anything interesting enough to blog about other than some mating little flies on my drying pyjama pants in the garden (by now I am also thinking of making a sign that says "No invertebrate sex on my laundry, please!" but since creepy-crawlies cannot read, people would just find me silly, wouldn't they...).

Where was I - oh yes! So I'm picking laundry and suddenly a thing flies and sits down on a leaf nearby. I didn't need long to see that it is an amazing red beetle, so I ran upstairs to get my camera and now I can proudly present my best pictures of black-headed cardinal beetle (Pyrochroa coccinea).

L: Pyrochroa coccinea
EN: Black-headed cardinal beetle
SK: Červenáčik ohnivý
CZ: Červenáček ohnivý, Ohniváček červcový

I looked the beetle up in my little pocket atlas of animals and plants and at first, I thought it might be a scarlet lily beetle (Lilioceris lilii), but it looked too shiny and looking it up on Google, I also saw it is somehow smaller than the thing I had on my hand, so I kept looking until I found the one that completelz resembled mz pictures.

Apparently, according to Wikipedia, these two beetles are easily confusable. The scarlet lily beetles is shiny and has dimples in its wing cases, while the black-headed cardinal beetle's wing cases are smooth. It also has very pretty toothed antennae (have a look at the picture above), which the scarlet lilly beetle doesn't have.

Taking pictures wasn't easy, because the beetle just decided to escape my camera time after time after time. Then it spread its wings and with a little break on my hand, it took off again into the garden.

I was able to follow it a little bit, so I saw it land on a little wooden fence we have here. Larvae live under the bark or in old timber where they feed on larvae of other beetles that live there. This leads me to think that maybe this was a parent looking for a place to lay her eggs? Maybe not, but seeing this beetle definitely makes me put some old logs in the garden!

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