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Harlequin Beetle

Acrocinus longimanus

This large tropical long-horned beetle has a distinct red, black and orange markings on its wing covers. The harlequin beetle is also distinguished by its extremely long forelimbs, which often extend longer than the entire body of the insect. Like all beetles, the body is divided into three parts consisting of the head, thorax and abdomen. The harlequin beetle is encased by a hard exoskeleton that serves as its primary form of protection. Mandibles in the front of its head allow for cutting and grasping of food while the antennae are the primary means of sensing its surrounding environment. 


The harlequin beetle is native to and widespread throughout southern Mexico and South America. It usually burrows a nest in trees covered in bracket fungus in order to have better camouflage for its larvae. Young beetles will live in this tree hole for 4 to 12 months before finally burrowing through and emerging from the wood. Harlequin beetles are known to host a group of species known as pseudoscorpions. These tiny arachnids live on their abdomens, resulting in a commensalist relationship that causes no harm to individual beetles. 


The harlequin beetle has a diet similar to other tropical beetles. Wood and bark are essential to its survival along with fungi and plants. It has also been found that harlequin beetles can survive solely on the dung and excrement of other animals.


The largest threat to the harlequin beetle is the destruction of its habitat by deforestation and other human disturbances. Birds, lizards and frogs also actively prey on the harlequin beetle.

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