Unidentified New Zealand bug
Location: Marahau, northern South Island, New Zealand
March 14, 2012 7:16 am
I was going through some pictures I took in New Zealand a couple of years ago, and came across an image of a large bug, which looked interesting at the time but which I never ID’ed. I’d love to know what it is.
It was just resting on the side of a building when I found it. I should mention this was in the middle of summer and the weather was quite warm and a bit humid; we weren’t out in the ”bush” or forest, but on a farm-like campground next to a National Park. This was about a 20-minute walk from the sea.
Any help would be much appreciated–I’m rather curious to know what this is!
Signature: M. Fullick
Dear M. Fullick,
The distinctive HuHu Beetle, Prionoplus reticularis, is the largest beetle found in New Zealand according to the Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand. It is a member of the Longhorned Beetle family Cerambycidae and the grubs of the beetles in this family are borers in woody trees and shrubs. Your individual is a female based on the presence of the pointed ovipositor that she uses to lay eggs in dead trees and posts. The Tai Awatea government website has some marvelous information including that the beetles are attracted to lights. The grubs are edible and were eaten by native Maori people.
Thank you very much! I’d definitely heard of the grubs (they’re famous in NZ), but had never seen the actual beetle until the day I took that picture. She must have been waking up, it was early evening when I found her.