Velvet longhorned beetles are native to parts of Asia including all of Russia, and south to the southern borders of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Its native range also spreads east to include all of China, the Koreas, and Japan. There is also a native population in Armenia, which is a little west of the rest of its range.
The velvet longhorned beetle has a large introduced range including several countries in Europe and North America as well as Iran. The velvet longhorned beetle has been introduced and established in eastern European countries stretching north to Poland, west to the Czech Republic, south to Romania, and east to Ukraine. It has also been established in the United States and Canada. (Valdez, et al., 2019)
The habitat of the velvet longhorned beetle largely depends on where they lay their eggs due to their short lifespans. The prime habitat for laying their eggs is areas with dry wood which can include forests and orchards, but also indoor and outdoor wood piles, wooden furniture, and other dry wood structures. The beetle can infect almost any wood host species. (Iwata and Yamada, 1990; Valdez, et al., 2019; Watson, et al., 2014)
Adult velvet longhorned beetles are 11-20 mm long with an average size of 16 mm. They have an elongated body and parallel elytra which are easily distinguishable by the irregular patches of hairs that form spots. They are uniformly dark brown (almost black in color) to orange-brown with antennae and legs being slightly lighter than their bodies. Their entire bodies are covered with short and uniform hairs with occasional long hairs. Antennae are almost as long as the body and are shorter in females.
Pupae are 18-20 mm long and off-white in color with dark spines along their backs.
Larvae are 15-30 mm long and white-yellow with a dark brown head. They have six short legs and three simple eyes arranged in a vertical line on their flattened head. The larvae also have mandibles with “spoon-shaped” ends.
Velvet longhorned beetles have two major life stages - one for eating and one for reproduction. They lay their eggs on barked wood (typically trees, but occasionally lumber and other wooden structures) in late summer/autumn. These eggs hatch after 10 days in which the larvae then burrow slightly into the wood between the phloem and xylem layers (close to where the sap is produced) and feed. Bark is necessary for young larvae to survive, but once they are old enough to burrow further into the wood, they no longer need the bark. Larvae go through their pupil stage while within the wood or a pupal chamber during the winter. While pupating, they develop from a worm-like organism to a beetle through a process called metamorphosis. They then leave the wood as adults in summer. Depending on where they are, they can emerge from April to May or from June to August. The adults then mate and lay eggs, restarting the cycle. In warmer places, this cycle takes about 1 year to complete. In colder areas, this cycle can take over two years. (Everatt, et al., 2015; Ray, et al., 2019; Valdez, et al., 2019)
The adult velvet longhorned beetles are nocturnal, mating only at night. The males produce a unique pheromone that attracts the females. They don’t have social structures as far as we know. Since they only live for a short time, they mate once in their lives. They are only active during their adult lives which is only for the summer. (Ray, et al., 2019)
The mating season for the velvet longhorned beetle is typically from July to August but could be earlier depending on when the adults emerge from their pupal chambers. Velvet longhorn beetles mate for the entirety of their adult lifespans, foregoing food since they live for such a short time. Since they are nocturnal, mating occurs at night. The females lay their eggs. Not much is known about what happens to the adult after they lay their eggs or mate, but they don’t live through the winter. Adult lifespans are around 15-20 days. Eggs hatch after 10 days. The larvae then begin their development cycle. The number of eggs in a clutch is not mentioned in the literature. (Ray, et al., 2019; Valdez, et al., 2019)
Since velvet longhorned beetles die after laying their eggs, all parental investment occurs pre-hatching. Velvet longhorn beetles lay their eggs shortly after mating due to their short lifespans. Females make sure to lay their eggs on wood with the bark intact which will provide protection and nutrience for the larvae once they hatch. (Everatt, et al., 2015; Valdez, et al., 2019)
Since velvet longhorned beetles are considered invasive pests, they are not held in captivity. Within labs, their lifespans are preserved to conduct as many tests as possible using refrigeration. Lifespans are typically 1 year to over 2 years. The time difference is due to development within the wood as a pupal times differing in different climates. Adults only live during the summer. One study has found adults to live about 15-20 days. (Everatt, et al., 2015; Ray, et al., 2019; Valdez, et al., 2019)
Velvet longhorned beetles live in wood for most of their lives, only emerging during the summer months as adults. While adults, they are nocturnal and are only active during the night. They spend most of their time finding a mate due to their short lifespans. As adults, they can fly but don’t tend to migrate or move large distances. While larvae and pupae, they spend their time alone feeding and developing. They don’t have social structures as far as we know. The only time they interact is during mating season. Females lay eggs alone so it can be assumed they don’t interact after mating. (Everatt, et al., 2015; Valdez, et al., 2019; Watson, et al., 2014)
Velvet longhorned beetles aren’t territorial. They don’t have much time to migrate, so they don’t. This beetle can establish itself in almost any wooden host, moving wherever their host is moved. If the eggs are laid in wood that then gets used to make furniture, the velvet longhorn beetle can survive in the furniture wherever it is moved to, assuming it is not harmed in the process. Essentially, their home range is wherever viable wood is. The individual does not move far from where they develop as pupae. (Everatt, et al., 2015; Valdez, et al., 2019; Watson, et al., 2014)
Velvet longhorned beetles are a solitary species. They spend most of their short lives alone burrowed in wood away from predators and other velvet longhorned beetles. Their food source is tree sap, so they don’t have special adaptations for finding prey. Since their eggs are laid directly on their food source for their whole lives, they don’t have to hunt for it either. Like other longhorned beetles, they have long antennae that span the majority of their body length. When the adults emerge, they are nocturnal and only fly at night. They are also attracted to black light traps, but it is not known which sense is responsible for their night flight capabilities. To find mates, the males release a unique pheromone to attract the females. (Ray, et al., 2019; Rodman, et al., 2020; Valdez, et al., 2019)
Velvet longhorned beetles have mandibles for burrowing into wood to reach their food source: the sap and surrounding layers. They are xylophages, meaning their diet consists mainly of wood. They eat for their entire larvae and pupae stages (about 1-2 years) until they emerge as adults. (Everatt, et al., 2015; Rodman, et al., 2020)
Velvet longhorned beetles spend most of their lives within their hosts (wooden structures) which protect them from predators and pathogens. As adults, they only live for about 15-20 days, so they haven’t developed anti-predator adaptations as far as we know. They are nocturnal and only fly at night. The velvet longhorned beetle does have some natural predators, however, that can get to them while they are larvae or adults. These predators include other types of beetles, carpenter ants, toads, lizards, birds, spiders, scorpions, small mammals, and other animals. They are also susceptible to parasites like chalcid wasps and fungi. (Rodman, et al., 2020; Valdez, et al., 2019)
The velvet longhorned beetle is an invasive pest. It burrows into wood and trees and while it doesn’t always outright kill them, it definitely harms yield for produce trees. It can also cause the tree or wood to be more susceptible to other insects and infections, harming its lifespan. The marks left behind by the velvet longhorned beetle also affect the marketability of the wood, causing it to be less profitable. (Rodman, et al., 2020; Valdez, et al., 2019; Watson, et al., 2014)
The velvet longhorned beetle has no known positive impacts on humans.
Velvet longhorned beetles are an invasive pest that can harm crop and fruit yields, tree longevity, and production of wood products (the “galleries” they create negatively impact marketability and profit). (Watson, et al., 2014)
The velvet longhorned beetle is not considered on the IUCN Red list. The velvet longhorned beetle is not classified on the United States Endangered Species Act list. The velvet longhorned beetle is not classified on the CITES appendices. The velvet longhorned beetle is not classified on the State of Michigan List.
There is still research being done to find the best way to control the population of velvet longhorned beetles. (Rodman, et al., 2020)
Jade Collins (author), Colorado State University, Amy Bagby (editor), Colorado State University.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.
living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
forest biomes are dominated by trees, otherwise forest biomes can vary widely in amount of precipitation and seasonality.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
Having one mate at a time.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
active during the night
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
scrub forests develop in areas that experience dry seasons.
breeding is confined to a particular season
remains in the same area
offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.
uses sight to communicate
Everatt, M., C. Malumphy, J. Ostoja-Starzewski. 2015. "Mulberry longhorn beetle Trichoferus campestris" (On-line). Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs. Accessed July 05, 2023 at https://planthealthportal.defra.gov.uk/assets/factsheets/trichoferus-campestris.pdf.
Iwata, R., F. Yamada. 1990. Notes on the biology of Hesperophanes campestris (Faldermann) (Col., Cerambycidae), a drywood borer in Japan. Material und Organismen, 25: 305-313. Accessed July 05, 2023 at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ryutaro-Iwata/publication/331673415_Notes_on_the_biology_of_Hesperophanes_campestris_Faldermann_Col_Cerambycidae_a_drywood_borer_in_Japan/links/5c8762daa6fdcc88c39c0d14/Notes-on-the-biology-of-Hesperophanes-campestris-Faldermann-Col-Cerambycidae-a-drywood-borer-in-Japan.pdf.
Ray, A., J. Francese, Y. Zou, K. Watson, D. Crook, J. Millar. 2019. Isolation and identification of a male-produced aggregation-sex pheromone for the velvet longhorned beetle, Trichoferus campestris. Scientific Reports, 9: 1-10. Accessed July 05, 2023 at https://doi-org.ezproxy2.library.colostate.edu/10.1038/s41598-019-41047-x.
Rodman, T., L. Spears, D. Alston, C. Cannon, K. Watson, J. Caputo. 2020. "Velvet Longhorned Beetle Trichoferus campestris (Faldermann)" (On-line). Utah State University Extension and Utah Plant Pest Diagnostic Laboratory. Accessed July 07, 2023 at https://extension.usu.edu/pests/caps/files/velvet-longhorned-beetle-2020.pdf.
Valdez, R., J. Francese, A. Ray. 2019. "Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Pest Datasheet for Trichoferus campestris (Cerambycidae): Velvet longhorned beetle" (On-line). Purdue University. Accessed July 05, 2023 at https://download.ceris.purdue.edu/file/3869.
Watson, K., C. Pratt, J. Caputo. 2014. "Total Records of Velvet Longhorn Beetle Trichoferus campestris Faldermann (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) from Utah" (On-line). Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Accessed July 05, 2023 at https://ag.utah.gov/documents/Insect_Velvet_Longhorn_Beetle.pdf.