Red milkweed beetle

Longhorn beetle

The longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae; also known as long-horned beetles or, more archaically, longicorns) are a cosmopolitan family of beetles, typically characterized by extremely long antennae, which are often as long as or longer than the beetle's body. In various members of the family, however, the antennae are quite short (e.g., Neandra brunnea, figured below) and such species can be difficult to distinguish from related beetle families such as Chrysomelidae. The family is large, with over 20,000 species described, slightly more than half from the Eastern Hemisphere. Several are serious pests, with the larvae boring into wood, where they can cause extensive damage to either living trees or untreated lumber (or, occasionally, to wood in buildings; the old-house borer, Hylotrupes bajulus, being a particular problem indoors). A number of species mimic ants, bees, and wasps, though a majority of species are cryptically colored. The rare giant long-horned beetle (Titanus giganteus) from northeastern South America is often considered the largest (though not the heaviest, and not the longest including legs) insect, with a maximum known body length of just over 16 centimeters.

Classification

As with many large families, different authorities have tended to recognize many different subfamilies, or sometimes split subfamilies off as separate families entirely (e.g., Disteniidae, Oxypeltidae, and Vesperidae; ); there is thus some instability and controversy regarding the constituency of the Cerambycidae (e.g ). There are few truly defining features for the group as a whole, at least as adults, as there are occasional species or species groups which may lack any given feature; the family and its closest relatives, therefore, constitute a taxonomically difficult group, and relationships of the various lineages are still poorly understood

Notable species

Selected photos

References

Further reading

  • (2005) Electronic Checklist of the Cerambycidae of the Western Hemisphere. PDF Cerambycids.com

External links


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