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Attack of the Giant Cerambycids - Prionus laticollis - female

Attack of the Giant Cerambycids - Prionus laticollis - Female
Near Ruraldale, Upshur County, West Virginia, USA
July 11, 2005
Size: About 40 mm
On a walk with two of our five cats, my wife and I were on the way back to the house. As we walked, I spied a large black beetle with pincers on the front. The way it was scuttling along the ground I first thought I had found a HUGE ground beetle. Then I reconsidered, and decided that Stag Beetle was more likely. I put the beetle in my cupped hands and continued back to the house where my camera was. I was happy as a pig in whatever until, after a few mintues, I remembered those pincers. Didn't it seem likely the beetle would use those pincers on me?

No sooner did I think the thought than that blasted old girl DID pinch down, and hard! Not enough to draw blood or make a mark, but it sure got my attention. After that I held the beetle by the edges of her elytra, but she still managed to crane her head down and pinch a finger, again and again. I let out a yell each time.

I found temporary quarters for the beetle while I got my camera ready, then set her down on a large rock. She VERY quickly ran to the edge of the rock, and so I picked her up, put her in the middle of the rock, took the picture, replaced her in the middle, repeat fifty times. I was using autofocus and about half the pictures were okay. Boy was she fast.

At one point Boots the cat came over—he loves large beetles as much as I do. One quiet growl from me was all it took to send him on his way with an injured expression on his face.

Finally I let the beetle continue on her merry way, and soon thereafter I printed out a picture and began to go through my Dillon & Dillon and other guides. But it just didn't match up with any Lucan*idae. I continued on into the next couple of families, and finally realized that with those antennae, it might well be a Cerambycid. And so it is.

Once I came up with the name, Broad-Necked Root Borer, I realized some others had posted pictures of these—I should have paid better attention. But what a big and mostly un-Cerambycid-like beetle!

About my ID: corrections, denials, elaborations, or confirmations, all would be appreciated.

There! Do I get the prize for longest photo caption on BugGuide to date?

I'm currently staying with a relative near Sacramento California, and I've captured a bug that matches this picture to the pixel. Am I looking at an invasive species, or have I just misidentified a local species? Photo to follow soon

There is one native Prionus in California:

Non ID names altered
Hi Stephen. Since this image came up during a search for Lucxanidae, I took the liberty of sticking an X in both the family name and Stxag, which should prevent the site search function from including it with that family.

Didn't work the way I thought
Didn't work the way I thought. Names changed back to correct spelling.

Seems like overkill
Seems like overkill. There are thousands of entries in BugGuide where we discuss families, genera, and species that are not the insect's ID. You'll have a lot of changing to do.

When we do our searches we just have to bear this in mind. With Cerambycids in my title, I wouldn't think folks would follow the link if they are looking for Stag Beetles.


Stephen Cresswell
Buckhannon, WV

You have a point
I guess it's confusing as well to encounter a strangely misspelled name. In addition, I notice that your laticollis image *still* comes up in searches for the other family. Maybe the search function identifies an entry when it's created, and that's the way it remains. At any rate, I've changed the names back to their correct spelling.

I wish there were some way of insuring that the novice user doesn't take a glance at the images brought up in searches and conclude that their bug is a beetle or vice-versa.

Darwin Popped Beetles In His Mouth..........
....maybe they won't bite there?

Yes, looks like it
I had a very similar experience with my first, and so far only, one of these this summer. I found one ovipositing in some leaf litter--I thought it was a mouse, making so much noise. When I picked it up it gave me quite a nip and I had to carry it as you did.

As Lynette said, the story was well worth the bytes, har, har.

Patrick Coin
Durham, North Carolina

Nice photo
Well worth a few bites. :)

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