Huge 1.5 inch bug….disrupts “moment” with girlfriend
June 25, 2010
I was having a conversation with my girlfriend outside on the porch when we were interupted with a loud scratching noise that eventually made its way all the way around us. At first we though it was my cat but then realized it was something moving through the brush. Upon closer inspection we realized it was some sort of huge insect. Well, I discovered this, she on the other hand was completely disgusted….lol I captured it in a Priority Mail box and seriously considered mailing it to my annoying PIA boss….but decided otherwise and now im emailing you after googling “Huge insect Virginia” and discovering this site. At first we though it was a roach but I have never seen one this large in VA and the large pinchers are not something that I have ever seen on a roach.
Paul D
Richmond, VA

Broad Necked Root Borer

Dear Paul,
Your letter is so amusing we wanted to take a bit of additional time to respond to it, so we slept on it.  Sunrise is still a ways off, but we are awake and ready to give your letter the attention it deserves.  At first we thought that this was a female Tile Horned Prionus, Prionus imbricornis, one of the Root Borers.
The sexes can be distinguished by the sexually dimorphic antennae. According to BugGuide: “Antennae have 18-20 overlapping segments (male): Female has 16-18 serrated segments. Other eastern Prionus have 12-13 antennal segments.”  Upon magnifying your photos and counting the antennae, we could only make out 13, but the images are not critically sharp for that degree of scrutiny.

Broad Necked Root Borer

We now believe this to be a female Prionus laticollis, the Broad Necked Root Borer, which BugGuide describes as:  “Pronotum as broad, or almost as broad, as base of elytra. Very dark. Elytra have irregular punctures, and each elytron has three indistinct longitudinal ridges. Pronotum has three blunt lateral teeth on each side. Antennae have 12-13 segments. Female much larger than male. The former is reported to be flightless, or nearly so. Males are attracted to lights.”  We love your photos and your amusing letter.  We hope your boss doesn’t catch wind of your fantasy and retaliate against you.  Seriously though, the inadvertent shipping of stowaway insects in packages is sometimes responsible for species range expansion though more often than not invasive exotic species are spread on plants when they are shipped to remote locations.  In the event that we decide to do a 2011 calendar, we would love to include your letter and images because they are both so amusing.

Broad Necked Root Borer

July 17, 2010
Sorry for the long reply.  That is funny, and yes it would be great if you wanted to use my story for the calander.

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2 Responses to Broad Necked Root Borer

  1. Mickie Hoss says:

    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the layout of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

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