Pyrochroa serraticornis (Scopoli, 1763)

Widely distributed and local throughout England but often very common where found. Adults emerge during early or mid May and for a while can be found under loose bark on deciduous trees. Fallen and standing timber may host this species as well as low rotting stumps, our records include Beech, Oak and Horse Chestnut. They disperse in warm weather and are then found mostly on dense low herbage. They often bask for long periods on large leaves, sometimes on umbel flowers and often near water, being common along the Grand Union canal and the various rivers in our area. Adults are predatory on other insects which they take from flowers and leaves. Often gregarious.

The larvae are reportedly omniverous (Hurka), feeding variously upon bark beetle larvae, fungal hyphae and soft cambium tissue, they live mostly under bark but are occasionally found deep within soft xylem tissue. Development is slow and up to 3 years are spent in this stage, pupation occurs under bark. The dull yellow larvae and pupae are very distinctive, larvae eventually reaching 3cm or more, large larvae are often found alongside small early instar specimens.

12-14mm. Head, pronotum and elytra bright red to scarlet, appendages black. Head with basal angles acute, wider than eyes. Elytra smooth over entire surface. Antennae pectinate in male, serrate in female. Male with deep depression between eyes, in female much shallower.

Description from 2 Watford specimens at X10



Mature Larva