The hardy native California Root Borer Beetle calls more than just one state its home.
Like other beetles in the genus Prionus, the California Root Borer has long, serrated antennae. Females have thinner antennae than males, who have more pronounced 'serrations'. This species has a reddish-brown coloring, but some individuals may appear more black. Three well-formed spikes project out of each side of its pronotum, the 'neck' area. Its elytra (wing coverings) have a fine texture to them, giving them a matte sheen when viewed in the daytime, but they are more active at night when males seek out females for mating. They are often seen walking around the ground in forested areas. They do not eat.
The larvae of this type of beetle live underground where they eat through, and into, the roots of a variety of deciduous trees, hence the common name. They have also been found eating roots from shrubs, vines and even rotting wood above ground. They may stay in this young phase of life for a few years before moving onto the pupa and then the adult form. Because of their diet, this type of beetle is considered a pest in orchards and vineyards where feeding activity can impact tree health and fruit harvest.
Scientific Name: Prionus californicus
Other Name(s): Giant Root Borer Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 24mm to 57mm (0.94in to 2.22in)
Colors: brown, red, black
Descriptors: reddish brown, large, heavy, flying, three spikes, spines, long antennae
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.