Attack of the Giant Cerambycids - Prionus laticollis
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 Lucanidae. 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?