Longhorn Beetle – Brachyleptura

Longhorn Beetle – Brachyleptura rubrica

color photo Longhorn Beetle - Brachyleptura rubricaCerambycidae (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.color photo Longhorn Beetle - Brachyleptura rubricaMost 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.
Please forgive the wacked-out white balance in these photos. This was long before I started shooting RAW images!

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