The giant size of female Broad-necked Root Borer Beetles and the fierce jaws of the smaller male give this species an unfortunately menacing appearance to humans.
This forest-dwelling beetle is at home in the eastern part of the continent. The 'neck' of the Broad-necked Root Borer is quite wide and has small spikes along the sides. The body is black, but it may look like dark brown as well. In stark contrast to the dark overhead view, the ventral (belly) side of the abdomen is yellow. Females are mammoth in size. They are more than two times larger than males and because of their heft, they are unable to fly even though they have wings. In fact, this genus is as large (by weight) as Rhinocerous Beetles. The smaller male can fly, albeit noisily. Males have large mandibles making their jaws look like they could deliver a terrible bite. Typically, male beetles reserve use of these jaws for territorial battles with other males.
Broad-necked Root Borers are most active in the summer months and can be see crawling on logs or the forest floor. Females deposit fertilized eggs into the soft earth using a syringe-like ovipositor. The eggs hatch and the larvae continue to dig deeper into the soil to find their food source: roots from trees and shrubs. They continue to feast on trees as they grow, consuming the inner bark and tissue for years before emerging as adults in the summer. Look for the Broad-necked Root Beetle near woods and forests though it has been seen crossing parking lots between habitats. If this type of beetle has made a home near buildings, it is attracted to lights at night and has a propensity to hit windows reflecting light with a loud bang.
Scientific Name: Prionus laticollis
Other Name(s): Giant Root Borer
Size (Adult; Length): 22mm to 75mm (0.86in to 2.93in)
Colors: black, brown, maroon, yellow
Descriptors: huge, bumpy, enormous, flying, jaws, hairy, tree pest
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.