Anthracocentrus arabicus (giant Arabian longhorn beetle)

Anthracocentrus arabicus is a rare beetle belonging to the family Cerambycidae (longhorn beetles) found in the Arabian peninsula and across desert regions of Africa.

It is one of the largest species of longhorn beetle in the Palaearctic, with females reaching a length of up to 95mm.

It is a species that is restricted to deserts, but only in areas where trees are present, which the beetles depend upon for their development and for the completion of their life cycle.

The beetles probably lay eggs in the roots of trees such as ‘ghaf’ (Prosopsis) and acacia in sandy areas, and the larvae feed upon the roots before pupating underground and later emerging as adults.

Once the adults emerge, they are active at night and live only for a few weeks, during which time they do not feed - their only purpose is to find a mate and reproduce.

The males and females of this species differ from each other, with males possessing longer mandibles. This is especially evident in large male specimens which have disproportionately large mandibles.

Species detail

  • Anthracocentrus arabicus
    Taxonomy

    Anthracocentrus arabicus is a large long-horn beetle. Discover where some its giant relatives can be found.

  • Anthracocentrus arabicus habitat
    Distribution

    Anthracocentrus arabicus is widespread in western Palaearctic desert regions, mainly in open forests of ghaf trees. Find out more.

  • Anthracocentrus arabicus
    Biology

    These beetles are nocturnal and roam at night looking for mates. During the day they hide under bark and stones avoiding the sun. Discover where the females lay their eggs.

  • Anthracocentrus arabicus
    Behaviour

    Female Anthracocentrus arabicus are less abundant and often larger, than males. Discover how the male beetles use their fierce mandibles.

  • Anthracocentrus arabicus
    Conservation

    This species is not currently endangered, but relies on conservation of suitable wooded areas for its survival.

  • Anthracocentrus arabicus
    References

    Get reference material for Anthracocentrus arabicus.

Images

Anthracocentrus arabicus

Female Anthracocentrus arabicus hiding under bark by day.

© Conrad P D T Gillett
Anthracocentrus arabicus

Male Anthracocentrus arabicus in threat posture.

© Conrad P D T Gillett
Anthracocentrus arabicus

Female Anthracocentrus arabicus being held to indicate relative size.

© Conrad P D T Gillett
Anthracocentrus arabicus

Male Anthracocentrus arabicus climbing a tree at night.

© Conrad P D T Gillett
Anthracocentrus arabicus

Female Anthracocentrus arabicus in the desert.

© Conrad P D T Gillett
Anthracocentrus arabicus

Ghaf tree woodland in the United Arab Emirates - habitat for Anthracocentrus arabicus.

© Conrad P D T Gillett
Anthracocentrus arabicus

Ghaf tree woodland in the United Arab Emirates - habitat for Anthracocentrus arabicus.

© Conrad P D T Gillett
Anthracocentrus arabicus

Female of the related species Anthracocentrus rugiceps from Iran.

© Martin Rejzek
About the author
Conrad Gillet
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PhD student researching weevils.

A word from the author

"The larvae of Anthracocentrus arabicus remain completely undescribed and unknown - we do not even know for certain if they feed on living roots, dead roots or even roots at all! Although this beetle is reputed to be attracted to and fly to lights at night, I have never seen or heard of one being found at lights; usually they are found rarely under bark and other objects."

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