Monochamus Sutor

We had an adult monochamus sutor in my class today, which was a treat because the adults only live two months. Most of their lives are spent as larvae, chowing down on wood. Most wood-eating insects eat dead wood, but they are one of the few insects that are hardy enough to pray on live wood. Their mandibles are made of the hardest organic substance known to man. They were our guest in the forest pests class because they make lots of giant holes in perfectly nice wood.

Pretty scary, except they are quite small and you can pick them up quite easily because they aren’t flexible enough to turn around and bite you. However, they do emit a squeaky chirping sound that must be the universal language for “You are a jerk and you should leave me alone.”

Which we don’t, because these beetles really are quite small and not much of a threat. However, their cousins in the same family that live in South America, Titanus giganteus, are a little more intimidating. They are six inches long and have the same super-powerful mandibles.

I wouldn’t want to put my finger any where near it.

(I didn’t take this picture, but I’m impressed there is a Flickr group for longhorn beetles)

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