big bug
Location: little rock california
June 28, 2011 4:04 am
What is this thing looks like a huge beetle with pincher’s of death and hisses like a roach
Signature: idk

California Root Borer

Dear idk,
This beauty is a male California Root Borer,
Prionus californicus, and while we agree that he is a huge beetle, females of the species can be almost twice as large.  See this BugGuide image for a size comparison between the sexes.  What you are calling “pincher’s of death” are the well developed mandibles that can be used for defense, though the primary function is to enable an adult beetle to chew its way out of the wooden chamber where it pupated.  Larvae bore into wood, primarily roots, feeding on the wood for several years before maturing.  The mandibles can probably snap a small twig and adult California Root Borers should be handled with caution to avoid being pinched.  The hissing is called stridulation and it is a sound produced by many beetles upon rubbing together specific body parts.

3 Responses to California Root Borer

  1. Amanda jurado says:

    These bugs are at Comanche south shore me and my kids called it a night after theses bug bugs came flying hissing at us lol

  2. Pat McCulloch says:

    Just found one at the bottom of our apartments stairs in Missoula Montana. Got on here to make sure it wasn’t an invasive species and released it next to a tree after finding out it is not. He seemed to be injured but maybe he’ll make it. Was considering picking him up bare haded to see if he would bite but decided against it. Very odd sounds it made. I have never seen one in Montana.

    • Lisa says:

      I am from Missoula, and your comment caught my attention.
      I just found a huge female at our weekend house in Plains, MT.
      The size of this amazing bug made me fearful it wasn’t from around here. Glad to hear others in Montana have seen this bug!

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