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Broad-necked Root Borer (Prionus laticollis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Broad-necked Root Borer



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Image Credit: Chris B. from KY
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Image Credit: Kimberly H.
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Image Credit: Seku V. from WY
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Image Credit: Robert W. from Portsmouth, RI
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Image Credit: Cori G. from Prescott, AZ
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Image Credit: Chris B. from KY
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Image Credit: Robert W. taken in Harwich Port, MA
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Image Credit: Seku V. from WY
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Image Credit: Allison F. in DE
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Image Credit: Sheila S. from Salem, VA
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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.



Updated: 01/26/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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 Rhinoceros 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.





General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Cerambycidae
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          Genus: Prionus
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            Species: laticollis
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Prionus laticollis
Other Name(s): Giant Root Borer
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 22mm to 75mm (0.86" to 2.95")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black, brown, maroon, yellow
Descriptors: huge, bumpy, enormous, flying, jaws, hairy, tree pest
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 22mm and 75mm
Lo: 22mm
Md: 48.5mm
Hi: 75mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Alaska  
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Broad-necked Root Borer may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Broad-necked Root Borer. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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