|Longhorn Beetle - Necydalis melita|
Family: Cerambycidae - Longhorn Beetles
Live beetles photographed at DuPage County, Illinois. Size: 10mm
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This beetle's elytra (hardened wing coverings) are nearly vestigial. Cerambycidae is a cosmopolitan family of beetles characterized by extremely long antennae. In various members of the family, however, the antennae are quite short (e.g., Neandra brunnea).
With over 20,000 species described, Cerambycidae is a large family. Many are serious pests, with the larvae boring into wood, where they can cause extensive damage to either living trees or untreated lumber. A number of species mimic ants, bees, or wasps (see Locust Borer), though a majority of species are cryptically colored. The giant long-horned beetle Titanus giganteus, from northeastern South America is one of the largest insects extant, with a maximum known body length of just over 16 centimeters.
Most Cerambycidae larvae feed within dead, dying or even decaying wood, but some taxa are able to use living plant tissue. Girdlers (adults of the Onciderini, larvae of genera in the tribes Methiini, Hesperophanini and Elaphidiini) sever living branches or twigs, with the larvae developing within the nutrient-rich distal portion. The larvae of a few species move freely through the soil, feeding externally upon roots or tunneling up under the root crown. 
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Order Coleoptera: Beetles are the dominant form of life on earth: one of every five living species is a beetle. Coleoptera is the largest order in the animal kingdom, containing a third of all insect species. There are about 400,000 known species worldwide, ~30,000 of which live in North America. Beetles live in nearly every habitat, and for every kind of food, there's probably a beetle species that eats it.
Beetles first appeared during the lower Permian period, about 270 mya
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