Male Tile Horned Prionus

Subject: Prionus Californicus in Tennessee?
Location: White County, Tennessee
June 20, 2016 11:10 am
I photographed this creature on my porch rail last night and posted it on IG in order to get feedback. Two people suggested it was a Prionus Californicus and gave me references. I’m pretty sure it IS one but what is it doing in Tennessee? With all of our nursery stock, I wonder if they’re plentiful here, have they been here a long while, how WE have come to have them, and are our nurserymen aware of them? I’m from Warren County, but this bug was found up at our river front property in Neighboring White County.
Thanks so much!
Signature: Peggy S Thompson

Tile Horned Prionus
Tile Horned Prionus

Dear Peggy,
This is indeed
Prionus, but it is NOT P. californicus.  In scientific nomenclature, the capitalized first word in the binomial name is the genus, and the second lower case word is the species.  The members of the genus are closely related and often share physical attributes, and frequently they can be difficult to distinguish from one another.  According to BugGuide, there are 16 North American species in the genus, and Prionus californicus is found as far east as Texas, according to BugGuide.  Your relative is the Tile Horned Prionus, Prionus imbricornis, and its range is according to BugGuide, partially overlaps that of the California Root Borer, and includes Tennessee.  The impressive antennae on your individual indicates he is a male.  This is the third Tile Horned Prionus we have posted this week, though the first was a disembodied head.   

Thanks so much for such a quick reply, ID, and also for posting my “Tile Horned Prionus” online for others to see. I had several people interested in him and his “Yosamitty Sam” antennas! Now WE know him…
Peggy T.

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