Cape Town, South Africa; Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
February 11, 2012 1:58 pm
I spotted this beastie outside my office, and we have established it is most likely to be a Flat-faced Longhorn (Lamiinae), however I have not been able to pin it down closer than that. Can you perhaps assist?
Date was 8th February 2012
We are not doing too well with South African submissions today. This is sure an amazing looking Longicorn or Bycid, a nickname employed by coleopterists for members of the family Cerambycidae. It really has unusual antennae. We suspect this is a male and that those antennae help him sniff out the pheromones of nearby females.
We are posting your wonderful photos and noting that it is still unidentified. We are not totally certain that the subfamily Laminae is correct. Perhaps Karl is online today and can come to our rescue.
Karl researches the identity of the Sombre Twig Pruner
Hi Daniel and Gigi:
Given the number of unique and striking features, this longicorn turned out to be surprisingly difficult to find. I believe it is probably a Sombre Twig Pruner (Cloniocerus kraussi or C. kraussii). Here is another link. I also found it under the synonym Thercladodes kraussi, which may be the currently accepted name. Page 144 in “Forest entomology in East Africa: Forest Insects of Tanzania” (Hans G. Schabel 2006) provides some good life history information and the following detailed description: “The beetle is a fairly hairy, funereal black, except for broad patches of buff on each side of the thorax and a wide band of the same hue, speckled with red, across the distal portion of the elytra. The thorax bears four conical projections. Most remarkable are the tip-curled antennae, which consist of segments of varied lengths. The third segment bears a conspicuous plume-like bunch of hairs. The anterior part of the elytra is marked by tufted humps, and there are also numerous tufts in the posterior portion.” The species is reported to occur in South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar and the Usambara Mountains of Tanzania (I suspect that this list is incomplete). There are at least six other species in the genus Cloniocerus (not sure about Thercladodes ) for which I could find no information so I suppose it could also be one of those, but C./T. kraussi looks very close. And yes, subfamily Laminae is correct. Regards. Karl