Bird-Dropping-Mimic Longhorn Beetle

2017 February 8

Sam brought me this beetle on August 9, 2016. I think she caught it around our front door, near the porch light. That dark and white coloration is the sort of thing you see when an insect camouflages itself to resemble a bird dropping.


We thought at first that it was another example of a small weevil that we’ve seen before and that the girls refer to as “poo beetles”. But, looking at the pictures, we can see that this isn’t a weevil at all. It does not have the characteristic weevil snout.


In fact, looking at the mouthparts and antennae, it looks more like one of the Longhorned Beetles.


As you can see by comparing it with my fingertip, it wasn’t a very big beetle, only a few millimeters long.



After coming up blank on my own search, I posted it on BugGuide, where John and Jane Balaban and v belov agreed that it was most likely Leptostylus transversus, one of the “Flat-Faced Longhorn Beetles. This is a mostly tropical group of beetles, with only a few (like this one) that range up into the northern temperate regions.

This particular species is fairly common, and often is drawn to lights, but is likely to be overlooked both because it is small, and because its camouflage makes it look like something you don’t particularly want to touch (unless you are some kind of dung beetle or something). They are apparently generalist feeders, and will eat pretty much any type of tree including both broadleaved trees and pines.

One Response
  1. Carole permalink
    February 8, 2017

    Reminds me of the great swallowtail caterpillar that looks like bird droppings in their early stages.

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