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Wasp or Beetle? – the Redheaded Ashborer

8 Apr
A wasp-mimicking cerambycid beetle (College Station, Texas).

A wasp-mimicking cerambycid beetle, the redheaded ash borer (Neoclytus acuminatus).

Here’s an interesting long-horned beetle I found poking around in the leaf litter by my front door this week.  With its long hind legs and elongate, red and yellow striped body, this beetle resembles a wasp, and the illusion is particularly effective in motion, whether in flight or moving quickly along the ground.  Beetles like this have fooled me many times, well enough that to make me keep my distance, at least until I can take a closer look at what’s in my net.

Like other long-horned beetles (family Cerambycidae) the larvae of these beetles burrow in dead and dying hardwood trees and logs.  Because they can attack sickly or weakened trees they are a pest in nurseries.