Probably Palo Verde Root Borer

Subject: Mammoth sized bug
Location: Just outside UNLV in las vegas nv
July 2, 2015 6:29 am
I was walking just yesterday, July1st, in front of unlv in las vegas. I saw this huge bug that appeared dead but I didn’t want to be surprised. It was enormous, maybe 8-10 inches long. I couldn’t imagine seeing this bug flying at me. It is the size of a small bird and I know I would be scared because I don’t know if it stings or not or possibly even bites??? Please tell me there aren’t more of these around.
Signature: Richard Soltis

Palo Verde Root Borer
Palo Verde Root Borer

Dear Richard,
This is one of the Root Borers in the subfamily Prioninae, and we believe it is most likely a Palo Verde Root Borer,
Derobrachus hovorei, a species found in many western states where the host tree is found, including Nevada.  Though these are very large impressive beetles, your estimate as its size is quite exaggerated.  BugGuide lists the size as:  “Length, exclusive of mandibles, 54-66 mm” though we have seen images of individuals that approach three inches in length, excluding the antennae.  The mandibles are quite strong, as they have evolved to chew wood, and we believe it is very possible for a bite to draw blood, so they should be handled with caution.

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