Black Cedar Beetle: Readers’ Mail

Over the years, our website, has received some interesting emails asking us about black cedar beetles. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Beetle with Flabellate Antennae from Malaysia

Subject: cockroach or beetle?
Location: MALAYSIA
February 27, 2013 11:54 pm
Hello there bugman. I was wondering what kind of bug is this? It can even fly around and it has the eyebrow looking stuff i mean eyelashes .. Tried google it but doesnt have anything returned
This is the picture i have uploaded hopefully i will get to know this more. Thanks
Signature: BRANDON

Beetle with Plumose Antennae
Beetle with Flabellate Antennae

Dear Brandon,
The entomological term to describe this beetle’s antennae is flabellate and you can see examples of flabellate antennae on BugGuide.  In form, your beetle resembles a Click Beetle in the family Elateridae, and there are Click Beetles with plumose antennae, but we suspect that this might be a member of a smaller and more obscure family of beetles that is contained within the superfamily Elateroidea.  We decided to search our own archives and we found that a very similar beetle was our 10,000th posting and it was tentatively identified as
Callirhipis cardwellensis.  Not long after that, we posted an individual, also from Malaysia, that looks identical to your beetle.  If your beetle is Callirhipis cardwellensis, then it belongs in the family Callirhipidae, as evidenced by these specimen tags on the Victoria Museum website.  According to BugGuide, the family Callirhipidae contains Callirhipid Cedar Beetles.  We are certain that your networking cache will spike as soon as you are able to post the identity of this unusual beetle.

Possibly Callirhipis cardwellensis
Possibly Callirhipis cardwellensis

Letter 2 – Cedar Beetle

Subject: beetle with orange ”antlers” – central Ohio
Location: north central Ohio
September 14, 2013 7:08 pm
A friend saw this beetle on his screen door tonight. He said it was about an inch long. I thought maybe it was a variegated June beetle, but it has pincers and it looks like it’s shiny. This was seen in north central Ohio.
Signature: Sharon G

Cedar Beetle
Cedar Beetle

September 15, 2013 5:56 AM
I finally found it: identified it as a male Sandalus niger. Thanks!

Hi Sharon,
We are happy to learn you have identified your male Cedar Beetle,
Sandalus niger.  The Cicada Parasite Beetles resemble Scarab Beetles, but they diverge at the suborder level of taxonomy.  This is not a commonly reported species to our site, so we are very happy to have a new photograph.  We originally posted an image of a Cedar Beetle two years ago and that was the first representative on our site, and it was also from central Ohio.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae probably feed on Cycada nymphs. Adults very short lived.”

Letter 3 – #10,000: Mystery Beetle from Hawaii may be Callirhipis cardwellensis

What is this?
May 13, 2010
I live in Hawaii on Oahu in the damp part of Kaneohe, and in my hall way was this creature on the wall. My brother touched it and it fell off easily. He picked it up and the bushy antennae moved around like satellites.
Curious and can’t find the name anywhere
Oahu, Hawaii

Unknown Beetle: Elaterid? or Lampyrid?? or Other???

Dear Curious,
First, we want to congratulate you on being our 10,000th posting, though we believe that count may be off since we are still finding that some postings vanished when we made our major site migration in September 2008.  At any rate, our web posting program, WordPress, indicates that you are #10,000.  Second, we want to apologize to Amy who because of a counting error on our part, was informed that her Giant Eastern Crane Fly was the 10,000th posting, and we had to yank the distinction away when we realized we had dropped a number.  None of that has anything to do with your question, which alas, for the moment, will remain unanswered.
This is surely a beetle, but we are unable to distinguish any telltale features but for those gloriously pectinate (or are they plumose?) antennae, .  Certain Click Beetles in the family Elateridae have pectinate antennae, and many Glowworm Beetles have pectinate antennae.  Even some Fireflies have pectinate antennae.  Each of these is a possibility, and BugGuide has numerous mainland North American species of each categorized together in the superfamily Elateroidea.  Alas, the Insects of Hawaii website indicates a curious dearth of these families represented in Hawaii.  We personally find it quite hard to believe that there are no Glowworms or Fireflies in Hawaii.  Our first thought upon viewing your image, and often that first impression, formulated before logic steps in to discount it has proven to be correct, was that your beetle has the outline of a Metallic Wood Boring Beetle in the family Buprestidae, but we knew of no examples of Buprestidae with such exaggeratedly pectinate antennae.  Taking a chance on that hunch, we found an article in the Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, vol 39, no. 2, which is posted online, that indicates “Male Xenorhipis brendeli LeC. possess elaborate pectinate antennae which presumably are the sensory organs involved in locating virgin females of the same species.”  While it looks nothing like your specimen according to the photos on BugGuide, it does open up the possibility that your beetle might be a Buprestid.  Though we have drawn a blank on your identification, we hope one of our readers might have a clue as to the identity of this distinctively shaped beetle.

May 14, 2010
Looks an awful lot like a callirhipid. See picture at:

Letter 4 – Cedar Beetle

Subject: Black beetle with feathery antenae
Location: Akron, Ohio (city sidewalk)
December 12, 2012 9:49 pm
Love this site! Any chance you can tell me what genus/species of beetle is this?
My girlfriend and I were taking a walk this fall in NE Ohio (USA) when I spotted this beetle on the sidewalk, exhibiting some odd behavior. It did not seem to be bothered by us and continued to walk around, with its wings spread. This made it easy to photograph, but since all I had was my phone, this is the best I could get.
Signature: Bearlo

Cedar Beetle

Hi Bearlo,
We have not had any luck with a conclusive identity in our initial web search, but our best guess at the moment is that this is some member of the superfamily Elateroidea.  You can browse the possibilities on Bugguide.  We have requested some assistance from Eric Eaton and we hope to hear back from him shortly.

Thanks for the quick response. I’ll search on the Superfamily Elateroidea and check out Bugguide. Have a great weekend and a wonderful holiday.

Eric Eaton identifies the Cedar Beetle
They changed the format on Yahoo!Mail again.  Took me a minute to find the “reply” icon!
Yes, this is a male Sandalus niger, the “Cedar Beetle,” in the cicada parasite family Rhipiceridae:
Neat find, though they are quite common.  Where you find one there is usually more.

Thanks for the assistance Eric.  I contemplated the Cicada Parasite Beetle or Feather Horned Beetle family, but didn’t scrutinize the possibilities too closely.


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    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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21 thoughts on “Black Cedar Beetle: Readers’ Mail”

  1. I live in the Maunawili area, really close to Kaneohe, and found one of these tonight. I had never seen one before. Thanks for the identification. It does look just like the one in the Malaysia posts and had the plumose antennae.

  2. I saw a BUNCH of these flying around my tree in my backyard on Sept 27th 2015. I live in northeast Nebraska and I’ve never seen them before in all my 24 years. My dogs were digging the ground around the tree so I’m curious, do they live or hibernate underground?

    • BugGuide does report Cedar Beetles from Nebraska. Since BugGuide indicates “Larvae probably feed on Cycada nymphs” and since Cicada nymphs live underground feeding on sap from roots of trees, shrubs and other plants (depending upon the species of Cicada) we can deduce that adult Cedar Beetles emerge from pupae that are underground.

  3. we have a beetle with a red chevron red pattern on its wings. I’m not finding a picture of it any where. we do have eastern cedar trees near our house and these are entering our house. Can they be harmful and how can we control them?We do have chickens but they don’t appear to eat them. Any info would be appreciated. Thank you

  4. Cedar beetle made himself known to my work colleague by tapping on her window last night!! In Dublin, Ireland! Are they common in Europe?

  5. I think I have had 3 Cedar Beetles in my house. You did not answer how to get rid of them. Why are they in the house? We are having extremely cold weather in western Oregon.

  6. I have just had one of these bettles flying around my house in malton, england never seen before unsure what to do with it as i have it sat in a plastic box for examination purposes as i was unsure what it was
    I have 3 children and a rabbit in the house do i need to keep them away from any of these bettles?

  7. I have just had one of these bettles flying around my house in malton, england never seen before unsure what to do with it as i have it sat in a plastic box for examination purposes as i was unsure what it was
    I have 3 children and a rabbit in the house do i need to keep them away from any of these bettles?

  8. I have something I thought was a Cedar beetle, but it’s huge. My dog was digging at it from some leaves near my house and hydrangea. It’s about 2 inches long! I see no way to post a photo to you.

  9. why is that plumose and not pectinate? as much as i can make out, the antennae branche out like a comb on only one side, hence are pectinate.

    • Thanks for bringing our error to our attention, but upon closer inspection, the antennae appear to be flabellate or fan-shaped.

  10. My 9 year old son just noticed this exact beetle crawling in our drive way. We live in Lincoln Park, MI. Not too far from Detroit. I have never in my 29 years noticed a beetle like this! They are very pretty though with the fan antennae .

  11. First time I’ve ever seen them in my 38yrs. 20+ were dive bombing my Ash tree near Columbus, OH. We had a ton of Cicadas this year, so is that why I’m seeing them? I was scared they were eating my tree or something, and google lead me here. Glad to hear they are harmless. They were landing on each other, I thought they were mating? lol But seems I had only males here. I have a picture, not sure how to submit with my comment.

    • You may submit images using the Ask What’s That Bug? link on our site. Perhaps a large population of Cicadas last year led to a spike in Cedar Beetle populations this year.


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