What is this?
January 9, 2010
This bug was found on our rooftop terrace in Casablanca, Morocco. It was alive but lethargic – perhaps a bird got to it. Its length is approximately 3 cm.
Later, after I took the photo, it climbed the vertical leg of a wooden stool that was nearby and tried to hide in a nook.
I’ve never seen this bug here before. Do you have any idea what it is?
We believe your letter might be the first identification request we have received from Morocco in the nearly ten years our column has been online. This sure looked to us like a Eucalyptus Longhorned Borer, one of two species in the genus Phoracantha, but we were uncertain if this Australian native, which has been introduced to California and Hawaii, had found its way to the Mediterranean. According to the excellent UC Riverside Center for Invasive Species Research website: “P. semipunctata has been accidentally introduced into virtually all Eucalyptus-growing regions of the world (e.g., Brazil, Canary Islands, Chile, Egypt, France, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Reunion Island, Spain, and South Africa) and is causing significant tree mortality in many of the areas it has invaded. P. recurva is demonstrating a similar high level of invasion throughout areas of the world with significant eucalyptus production.“
Ed Note: After posting our reply, we checked, and we have actually received three other letters from Morocco.
Wow…thank you for the amazingly quick response! Our immediate neighborhood doesn’t have many trees, so not sure how this little guy ended up on our roof. Maybe he blew in with some of the very gusty rain we’ve had recently, or a bird decided he wasn’t good pickings.
Many thanks for your terrific service! Off to read up on Eucalyptus Longhorned Borers.