Friday 2 December 2011

Huhu bug

Te Aroha, North Island, NZ

Female huhu beetle Prionoplus reticularis, body length 4-5 cm
Early in the morning I found this enormous beetle on the wall outside the Ladies in our Holiday Park where we were camping.
Then I showed it to the campsite owner who was doing her rounds; to my surprise she promptly scooped it with a rug and told me: "It is a huhu bug. People don't like to see them, they can nip you... Please, put it in the bush".
Not me! I took it to a place by our tent and showed it around. Everybody was delighted to see it. All the while it hardly moved, so I took some more shots. Below  is a close up of its biting mouth parts.

Head of the huhu bug
Then I found out that it is New Zealand's largest beetle, it is a member of the longhorn beetle family (Cerambycidae). The females have antennae longer than their bodies, easier to sex. The larvae develop in wood, a saproxylic species!

The story goes that the Maoris ate their larvae... Rather a tasty morsel as they can reach a fair size.  Huhu is the Maori name for both larvae and adult. For more see

A very nice find indeed! I'm yet to see a weta, another NZ speciality... I will certainly keep you posted if I do ;-)

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