7 June 2011

Cardinal Beetle

I only featured the Cardinal Beetle in my last post but I saw a couple of interesting ones at Knapp and Papermill NR at the weekend.

Cardinal Beetle - Pyrochroa serraticornis

Ok so not the finest specimen with a strangely bent antennae but this picture is purely for reference against the next picture.....

Cardinal Beetle - Pyrochroa serraticornis

I managed to catch him (?) at the moment of take off which gives a rare insight into a beetles anatomy. Looks like one of those "Transformers" toys.
The (red) wing cases are called Elytra and they are hardened modified forewings which protect the softer membranous Hind flight wings.

The Elytra are held open in flight whilst the hindwings do all the work. If you have ever seen a beetle in fight you will know how ungainly and unaerodynamic they look and from this picture you can understand why. But I suppose as a secondary means of mobility it does the trick.



Cardinal Beetle - Pyrochroa coccinea

In my last post I mentioned that there is a black headed version of the Cardinal Beetle but I had not managed to spot one. Well I have now.

I was alerted to the noisy ungainly flight of a Beetle and whilst it is hard to tell what sort of beetle in flight it was clearly Red and of a size which could only really be a Cardinal Beetle and he landed close by and at about waist height so I wasn't going to turn down the opportunity to get a picture even though I had seen and photographed others that day.

I was busy lining up the shot and getting focus etc and had probably even taken a shot or two before it suddenly dawned on me that it had a black head!! A real lightbulb moment.

Cardinal Beetle - Pyrochroa coccinea

And he generously posed for me, showing off his spectacular antennae.

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