At first sight I thought this bug scurrying across leaf litter in Urulanthanni near Thattekad in Kerala was a red cotton stainer (Dysdercus cingulatus). Life is never so easy with bugs: there are over 50,000 species of them. Some think there may even be twice as many species in this order, the Hemiptera. There are more than 300 of these which are bright red or orange, and they are shoehorned into a family called cotton stainers or Pyrrhocoridae.
I saw the colour, the triangle of brown showing under the folded wings, and the two black spots on the wings which you can see clearly in the featured photo, and jumped to the wrong conclusion that I’d seen a D. cingulatus. But that has white stripes across the abdomen, unlike this, which has black stripes. What a gap between being able to identify a species and having an identification only at the family level!
I’d seen bright red nymphs on rocks nearby. This and another specimen nearby were the only adults I noticed. While it is possible that multiple species of cotton stainer bugs are found in this forest, in the absence of any evidence, it is quite likely that the nymphs belong to the same species as the bug in the featured photo. Can anyone help with the ID?