Giant Fijian long-horned beetle

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Giant Fijian long-horned beetle
Taveuni longhorn beetle.jpg
A specimen of Xixuthrus heros compared to a human hand.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Family: Cerambycidae
Subfamily: Prioninae
Genus: Xixuthrus
Species: X. heros
Binomial name
Xixuthrus heros
(Gräffe, 1868)

The giant Fijian long-horned beetle (Xixuthrus heros) is native to the island of Viti Levu in Fiji, and is one of the largest living insect species, with specimens around 15 cm long, excluding legs, antennae, or jaws. It is closely related to the Taveuni beetle, which is only marginally smaller. These beetles have powerful jaws, and should be handled with care when alive - when threatened, they produce a loud and fearsome hissing noise by squeezing air out from under their elytra. Various websites and other resources incorrectly indicate that this species is extinct; it is not, though the forest habitat on its home island is somewhat limited, so the beetle is potentially quite vulnerable.

In fact, X. heros is considered common in the highlands of Viti Levu where the forest is intact; natives in remote villages continue to consume the larvae. Adults commonly come to lights near the nursing college near Suva. A scientific study in 2001/2002 determined that there are, in fact, two distinct species which had been identified as heros, one of them true heros, the other being X. ganglbaueri.[1]

Bibliography[edit]

  1. ^ YANEGA D., D. OLSON D., SHUTE S., KOMIYA Z., 2004 - The Xixuthrus species of Fiji (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Prioninae). Zootaxa, 777: 1-10

External links[edit]

  • Xixuthrus heros pictures
  • ZinRus In Russian but excellent images of several members of this genus including X. heros. Locality information in English.