Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Long-horns

Longicornes  (family Cerambycidae) are often spectacular beetles and are favourites with collectors. In Australia they range in size from about 5mm to some real giants of 80 mm or more in length. The larval stages bore in wood or stems of trees and shrubs. Rainforests with a diversity of trees, palms and shrubs have a rich assortment of species. Here are a few that have come to the lights in just the last few weeks.

Dictamnia aestuosa.The host plants of this not uncommon species are unknown.
Dictamnia aestuosa. Note the pattern of hairs contributing to the colour of the beetle.
Batocera frenchi. This spectacular longicorne can be common at times. If a preferred log is discovered in just the right degree of decomposition, often dozens of beetles can be found mating and ovipositing in the preferred host.
Batocera frenchi. The eyes of many beetles are divided or interrupted by the insertions of the antennae.
Batocera frenchi. to the dismay of the collectors, the orange spots fade to dull creamish yellow after the death of the beetle.
Rosenbergia megalocephala. This beetle is widespread across the northern portion of Australia. It is similar in size to Batocera but seems less common. The beetles are probably associated with various species of native figs, Ficus spp.
Rhitiphora sp. Dozens of Australian species are placed in Rhitiphora. Some are agricultural pests in that they bore into soybean and lucerne. But most occur in native trees and shrubs. This species seems to always be present at one of our favourite collecting sites, Grievson Rd, Koah, Qld. The larvae most likely live in the canes of the Northern Forest Grass Tree, Xanthorrhoea johnsonii, of which a 2 metre tree can be 200+ years old!
Rhitiphora sp. The ant may be interested in a secretion from the beetle.
Rhitiphora sp. As with many longicornes, the eyes can be divided by the base of the antennae.
Xixuthrus sp. A formidable Australian prionine. This is a large beetle, 75 mm or more in length and has a nasty disposition when encountered.
Xixuthrus sp. the mandibles are used primarily to chop into wood but they keep predatory birds, such as the Black Butcherbird, Craticus quoyi, at bay. How the birds manage to subdue the beetles without getting bitten is remarkable. Supposedly, one bite on the leg, wing or tongue would permanently disable the bird. But legs and tegmina are found around the lightsheet and the birds have been observed flying off with the struggling beetles in the morning.
?Didymocetrotus foveatus. Not uncommon. Note the distinctive stance.
 Aesa sp. A "buzzing" longicorne. This small, fuzzy beetle seems to never alight when it visits the lightsheet. It buzzes tirelessly.

 Aesa sp. This beetle varies in colour.
Velora sp. This fury little longicorne is an infrequent visitor to the lights. The larvae of some species have been reared from legume species.

 Sybra truncata. Sybra species have been reared from a variety of trees and shrubs. Apparently, this species has not been associated with any specific host.
  Sybra truncata.
  Tricheops ephippiger. This colourful beetle has the lower lobe of the eye deeply divided by a "mandibular gland dispenser" which bears a group of stout hairs (not seen here). This longicorne, like many others, has a very distinctive odour when handled. Supposedly, the gland dispenses this scent.

Sclerocantha sp. A prionine longicorne.
Eurynassa sp. Another prionine longicorne which will be dealt with in Volume 3 of the wonderful series of books on Longicorne beetles being written by Adam Slipinsky and his team and published by CSIRO Publishing.

Thanks to Adam Slipinsky for helping with the identifications for some of the species.


3 comments:

Mosura said...

Such an amazing variety. That Rosenbergia megalocephala is a real beauty!

Paul said...

Brilliant post as always - I have a phone pic of Batocera frenchi (hey it's what I had to hand), but no I.D - so cheers for filling in yet another gap in my knowledge. Hope your Xmas/New year has been good. - Paul

Mr. Smiley said...

Thanks Paul and Mosura. Appreciate the comments.

Cheers for the New Year.
D