Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Jaws!

Summer brings on longicornes, family Cerambycidae. Many of the larger ones have formidable mandibles that can easily open a severe wound. I am always impressed that these tough beetles never pose much of a challenge for the Black Butcherbirds that  actually hunt for them around the margins of the light sheet and adjacent vegetation. It would seem that they might at some stage get bitten, but I've never observed them have any problems during the dismemberment of the prey.
 
 The large jaws on these beetles are probably for cutting through dead wood on which they feed and in which the females lay eggs that will develop into the rather sizable larvae that will help to decompose the wood and return it to the soil. Each species seems to have slightly differently modified jaws. This probably reflects differences in how they use them.



3 comments:

Snail said...

I try to keep my fingers and toes away from those jaws!

Do you have an ID for the fellow with the fancy antennae?

Mr. Smiley said...

Hi Snail
My friend Jack tells me the green cerambycid with the feathery antennae is Rhipidocerus australasiae.
D

Snail said...

Thanks! (Sorry, I forgot to check back earlier.)