Systematics of Longhorned Beetles ( Mexico )
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Species: Acrocinus longimanus
HARLEQUIN BEETLE - ACROCINUS LONGIMANUS
The harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus) is a large tropical longhorned beetle native to the Americas, especially from southern Mexico to Brazil in South America. The harlequin beetle feeds on sap and is given this name because of its elaborate pattern of black, red and greenish yellow markings on the wing covers of both sexes. The species name longimanus is a Latin word that refers to the extremely long forelegs (manus) of the males, which are usually longer than the beetle's entire body. As an adult, the species is very large, with a body that can measure nearly 76 mm in length. It is also famous for carrying pseudoscorpions as a form of phoresy.
The harlequin beetle's body often hosts a species of tiny arachnids known as pseudoscorpions (Cordylochernes scorpioides), which live beneath the harlequin's colourful wing covers. The minute pseudoscorpions use the beetle for transport to new food sources and as a way to meet potential mates. To keep from falling off when the beetle flies, they attach themselves to the harlequin's abdomen with silken threads spun from pincherlike glands in their claws. When they arrive at a suitable new site, they anchor to their destination with a new strand of silk and slide off the beetle.
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.