The Great Capricorn Beetle is a member of the Longhorn family. In the European portion of its range, it remains considered the largest beetle, partly due to the size of their antennae. This remarkable insect inhabits a wide territory range, and forms perhaps their greatest advantage for survival.
Their population appears (for the moment, at least) to be relatively stable, globally. In Europe, however, their numbers seem to be declining. Currently, they most commonly appear in France and Bulgaria.
However, in all regions, they remain potentially at risk due to climate change and loss of habitat. For these reasons, the IUCN currently lists them as Vulnerable.
Great Capricorn Beetle Physical Description
The Great Capricorn Beetle possesses a generally elongated body shape. Adults may attain a body length of as much as 2.2 in (5.6 cm).
Their antennae are a unique feature. Sexual dimorphism is displayed by this species, in terms of antennae length. Among females, these roughly equal the length of their body. Among males, however, they may be as much as twice the length of the body itself.
In coloring, they are primarily black (both the body and legs). However, the elytra may be reddish-brown on their tips.
They also possess a row of tough ridges along the abdomen. These are rubbed against a hard surface, such as a tree branch, to produce a loud stridulation, which they use to attract potential mates.
Great Capricorn Beetle Range, Habitat, and Ecology
The Great Capricorn Beetle inhabits a wide range of Europe and parts of Africa. Within that range, they are endemic to low altitude forests. However, they have adapted to gardens, orchards, farmland, and yards as well.
This insect practices great selectiveness in the trees they inhabit. They are found almost exclusively on deciduous trees, and the invertebrate generally prefers old and decaying trees (both for food and laying of eggs).
Their diet is saproxylic in nature. They commonly live, feed, and reproduce in the same location they hatched in. Females lay as many as 300 eggs after mating.
Both genders are weak fliers and rarely take flight. A typical lifespan ranges from 3-5 years for this species.