Spined Oak Borer

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I found this creature in my backyard and was able to scrape it gently into a jar to examine and photograph this newly found “long-horned” beetle.

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This insect is about three-quarters of an inch long. It is brownish-yellow and mottled with dark spots. Like most long-horned beetles it has antenna longer than its body. It also has spiny projections on its antenna and on its femoral leg segments, accounting for its common name.

03 Elaphidion mucronatum_6817

Calling this little insect’s antennae “long” is an understatement; each extended, tapering antenna was twice as long as its body. Long-horned, for sure!

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There are more species of beetles than any other insect order – some sources claim a quarter of all named animal species are beetles. In the Long-horn Family there are nearly 300 genera and 1,200 species – and that’s just in North America.

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Spined Oak Borers occur from New York to Michigan and south to Florida. Adult have massive pinching mandibles that apparently are used to chew on dead branches of various hardwood trees, including oaks.

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This species lays its eggs under bark scales on dead tree limbs, after which the larvae spend their first year feeding just under the bark; during the second year, the larva migrate deeper into the dead wood, pupate, and eventually emerge as adults.

This was a super cool find that I didn’t have to go far to encounter.

Third Eye Herp

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