|Longhorn Beetle – Brachyleptura rubrica |
Order Coleoptera. Live adult beetles photographed at DuPage County, Ilinois. Size: 15mm not including antennae. Beetles Index
Cerambycidae (longhorn beetles or long-horned beetles) is a cosmopolitan family of beetles characterized by extremely long antennae, often as long as or longer than the beetle's body. There are over 20,000 species described. Many longhorns are serious agricultural pests, as their larvae have the unfortunate habit of boring wood. The Asian Longhorn beetle, for instance has been responsible for the preventive destruction of thousands of trees in Northern Illinois and other locations in the United States and Canada.
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.Most adult cerambycids, particularly the brightly colored ones (such as the bright red beetle featured here), feed on flowers and pollen, and can be important pollinators of some flowering plants. Other species consume sap, leaves, blossoms, fruit, bark or fungi.
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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.