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Ponderous Borer Beetle (Trichocnemis spiculatus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Ponderous Borer Beetle

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Image Credit: John V. taken in Raton, NM
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Image Credit: John V. taken in Raton, NM
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A fan of fallen Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir trees, the Ponderous Borer is not a pest to either of these conifers.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Though the larvae of the Ponderous Borer chew into wood, as eggs, they are only placed on fallen trees or cut logs. This means that healthy trees are not attacked, so forests are not under threat. Of course, felled timber is used by people for various things like firewood, flooring, furniture, cabinetry, and log homes, so it is possible to transport wood indoors that already has larvae inside it. If a beetle is found indoors, it may have outgrown its host log and exited by chewing its way out. Releasing a beetle outdoors is safe because it does not pursue living trees. Freshly cut lumber from the Ponderosa pine tree and Douglas fir exude an aroma that females seem to be able to detect. After mating, females lay eggs near a split or opening in the wood to give a newly hatched larva easier access to the nutritious inner tissue of the dying tree. Lumber yards may find this beetle a nuisance since the boring done by the larvae mars woodgrain, which can reduce its value.

The Ponderous Borer is large and brown, and it is not aggressive. Powerful jaws used to chew wood can also deliver a painful bite if it is handled roughly and frightened. The long antennae mean it is part of the Long-horned Beetle family, and it can fly though it is more often seen walking. Look for this beetle in the western half of the continent in areas where evergreens are growing and falling, particularly Ponderosa pines and Douglas firs.


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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Cerambycidae
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          Genus: Trichocnemis
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            Species: spiculatus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Trichocnemis spiculatus
Other Name(s): Ponderosa Pine Borer, Western Pine Sawyer, Spined Woodborer
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 55mm to 75mm (2.16" to 2.95")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown
Descriptors: large; flying; woods

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 55mm (2.2in) and 75mm (3.0in)
Lo: 55mm
Md: 65mm
Hi: 75mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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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 Ponderous Borer Beetle 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 Ponderous Borer Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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