Scarlet Caterpillarclub - Cordyceps militaris


The fruitbody is 0.5 to 4 cm long and 2 to 4 mm in diameter, the fertile head is bright orange or scarlet-orange; club-shaped and slightly swollen; rarely branching; granular, covered in raised pores. The base is attached to a dead insect pupa below the soil surface. The infertile stem is 1 to 3 cm long and 1 to 1.5 mm in diameter, usually somewhat wavy; paler orange than the fertile head.

Identification difficulty
Recording advice

Unless identified by a recognised expert, a photo is required. If the photo doesn't show the key ID features then in the comments box describe the size and identifying characters you have observed.


In grassland or on mossy woodland edges, always attached to a moth pupa (or exceptionally to a larva) below the ground.

When to see it

Summer and autumn.

Life History

Always attached to a moth pupa (or exceptionally to a larva) below the ground.

UK Status

An infrequent find in Britain, it is quite likely that Cordyceps militaris is more common than it seems. Despite its bright colouring, Scarlet Caterpillarclub is but difficult to spot, because the clubs are usually much shorter than the grass or moss among which they are growing.

VC55 Status

Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Scarlet Caterpillar Fungus, Scarlet Caterpillarclub
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
07/12/2019 (Nicholls, David)
Last record:
24/12/2022 (Bell, Melinda)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

The latest images and records displayed below include those awaiting verification checks so we cannot guarantee that every identification is correct. Once accepted, the record displays a green tick.

In the Latest Records section, click on the header to sort A-Z, and again to sort Z-A. Use the header boxes to filter the list.

Latest images

Latest records