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Great capricorn beetle
Great capricorn beetle

Great capricorn beetle
The great capricorn beetle (Cerambyx cerdo), or more precisely Cerambyx (Cerambyx) cerdo, is a species in the order beetles (Coleoptera), the suborder Polyphaga, the infraorder Cucujiformia, the superfamily Chrysomeloidea, the family longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae), also known as long-horned beetles or longicorns, the subfamily Cerambycinae, the tribe Cerambycini, the genus Cerambyx and the subgenus Cerambyx (Cerambyx). A scientific synonym for this species is Cerambyx heros.
Cerambyx cerdo
Cerambyx cerdo
Cerambyx cerdo are widespread in Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia. Its numbers have declined dramatically in Central Europe. The great capricorn beetle is one of the largest longhorn beetles in Central Europe, reaching body lengths of 24 - 53 mm.
Cerambyx cerdo - Side view
Cerambyx cerdo - Side view
Its body is slender and dark brown in colour. Only the tip of the abdomen is somewhat lighter. The head and antennae are black. The antennae of the males are about twice as long as the body. The 1st segment is markedly thicker, wrinkled and densely pitted. The antennae of the females are about half the length of the males'. Thethorax is black. The great capricorn beetle can produce sounds by rubbing the prothorax and mesothorax together.
Longhorn Beetle - Cerambyx cerdo
Longhorn Beetle - Cerambyx cerdo
The wing covers (elytra ) are also black but towards the wing tips they turn a lighter, more reddish-brown colour. The inseam of the wings is formed to fine thorns. The legs are long, powerful and black in colour. At the bottom of the 1st and 2nd tarsal joints of the rear leg pair is a groove running horizontally. The tibia and feet (tarsi) are covered with short blackish bristles. The great capricorn beetle can be confused with other longhorn beetles like Cerambyx welensii or Cerambyx miles.
Great capricorn beetle - Cerambyx cerdo
Great capricorn beetle - Cerambyx cerdo
The great capricorn beetle prefers to live in warm deciduous forests, parks or small river valleys with trees. It is found almost exclusively in sunny places with old, sick or dying oak trees, in which its larvae develop. However, it completely avoids dead wood. Occasionally, it is also found on hornbeam (Carpinus), chestnut (Castanea), locust bean plants (Ceratonia), ash (Fraxinus), walnut (Juglans), pears (Pyrus), black locust (Robinia), willow (Salix) and elm (Ulmus). The great capricorn beetle feeds on tree sap expired from injured mature trees or tree fruits.
Great capricorn beetle - Front view
Great capricorn beetle - Front view
Adults are nocturnal and active from May to August, especially in June to July. Their life expectancy is 46 - 59 days. By day they hide behind loose bark, in old tunnels or in the leaves of their home tree. The strong locatedness of the Great capricorn beetle (the beetle flies only short distances) significantly restricts its dissemination. After mating, the fertilized females lay 60 - 450 eggs in portions of 1 - 3 eggs in fissures in the bark of old oak trees.
Cerambycidae - Cerambyx cerdo
Cerambycidae - Cerambyx cerdo
The larvae hatch after 1 to 3 weeks. They are 2 4 mm in length and eat tunnels to the soft cambium (layer between the bark and sapwood). Here, they take in nutrients (vitamins, minerals) with the tree sap. Once they reach the cambium layer, they overwinter. The following year, before eating, they penetrate into the harder sapwood. Here they overwinter for the second time.
In the 3rd year they come up against the hard heartwood, which at least takes them 2 more winters. The larvae have now reached body lengths of 90 - 100 mm and pupate in the period from July to August in tunnels, which are about 80 mm deep. The pupal period lasts 4 - 6 weeks. In late September or early October of the 4th year, up to 200 great capricorn beetles hatch in a single tree. The entire development period of the larvae can be up to 5 years.

Cerambyx (Cerambyx) cerdo
Common namesGreat Capricorn Beetle
German namesEichenheldbock, Heldbock, Großer Eichenbock, Eichenbock
Dutch namesHeldenboktor
Swedish namesEkbock, Större ekbock
Italian namesCerambice della quercia
French namesGrand Capricorne, Capricorne héros
AuthorCarl von Linné (Carl Nilsson Linnæus), 1758

South Europe (Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal), Italy (Italy Islands (Sicily))), North Europe (British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain)), Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland), Baltic region (Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania))), West Europe (Austria, France (South France (Corsica)), Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)), Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic (Moravia, Bohemia), Slovakia), Southeast Europe (Romania, Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro (Serbia)), Bulgaria, Greece, Albania, Moldova), East Europe (Ukraine, Belarus), Malta
West Asia (Near East (Turkey, Jordan, Iran, Syria, Lebanon))
Azerbaijan, Armenia, North Caucasus (Northwest Caucasus)
North Africa
Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco

Ecozones: Palaearctic

CountriesAlbania, Algeria, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Links and ReferencesCerambyx cerdo in
Cerambyx cerdo in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Great capricorn beetle
2. Cerambyx cerdo
3. Cerambyx cerdo - Side view
4. Longhorn Beetle - Cerambyx cerdo
5. Great capricorn beetle - Cerambyx cerdo
6. Great capricorn beetle - Front view
7. Cerambycidae - Cerambyx cerdo
Quick search: Capricorn - Beetle - Insect - Great - Cerambyx - Longhorn
Beetles - Larvae - Oak - Insects - Tree - Horned - Black - Europe
Sources, links and more informations
Cerambyx cerdo in species.wikimedia
Cerambyx cerdo
Insects, True insects
Winged insects
Wing-folding insects
Holometabolous Insects
Beetles, Coleopterans
Longhorn beetles, Long-horned beetles, Longicorns, Longicorn beetles, Long Horn beetles, Longhorned beetles, Roundheaded wood borers, Round-headed wood-borers
Round-necked longhorns
Capricorn beetles
Capricorn beetles
Cerambyx cerdo
Great Capricorn Beetle
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
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Cerambyx cerdo cerdo
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Cerambyx cerdo mirbeckii
Cerambyx cerdo pfisteri
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