I saw a few of these distinctive, Hybodera genus longhorns at Mount Pisgah recently. The common name “Long-horned beetle” refers to the antennae that are usually longer than the insect’s body. The scientific family name, Cerambycidae, derives from a Greek myth. A shepherd named Cerambus insulted the Nymphs, who turned him into a wood-gnawing beetle with elongated horns. 

Why would a small insect have such seemingly cumbersome antennae? It turns out, they’re kind of like a control panel. There are up to a dozen types of sensillae, or sense receptors, on them. Cerambycidae larvae grow up under the bark of trees and herbaceous plants. Chemical receptors allow the adults to find weak or dead trees of the right species in which to lay eggs. There are also receptors for taste, touch, temperature, and motion on the antennae. 

This particular longhorn is Hybodera tuberculata. There are two species in the Hybodera genus, and both live on the west coast. Beyond that, there’s very little information about them. 

The good news is that the beetle isn’t a pest, so it hasn’t caught the attention of any crop or pest control interests. On the other hand, it’s a nice-looking, not uncommon beetle without much of a biography. I found one source that says the species spends its larval stage in maple trees, but without corroboration, I don’t give it much weight. 

I’m afraid it may be too late to see this beetle again this spring. Although longhorns have a long life cycle, often two or three years, most of that time is spent as a larva. Adults usually live for several days to several weeks. 

Stay curious!

See more of Karen’s work here.


BugGuide’s information page on Cerambycidae: https://bugguide.net/node/view/171. Accessed on 4/17/24.  

Reference to Hybodera’s association with maple trees: https://pestcontrolcanada.com/5649-2/. Accessed on 4/17/24.

Story of Cerambus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerambus. Accessed on 4/17/24.