Taveuni beetle

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Taveuni beetle
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Family: Cerambycidae
Subfamily: Prioninae
Genus: Xixuthrus
Species: X. terribilis
Binomial name
Xixuthrus terribilis
Thomson, 1877
Synonyms

Xixuthrus heyrovskyi Tippmann, 1945

The Taveuni beetle (Xixuthrus terribilis) is known from the island of Taveuni in the Fiji, and is one of the largest living insect species, with specimens around 14 cm long, excluding legs, antennae, or mandibles.

It is closely related to the giant Fijian long-horned beetle. These beetles have powerful jaws, and should be handled with care when alive.

This species has been mistakenly classified under the name Xixuthrus heyrovskyi since 1945, when it was unwittingly redescribed, and this name still appears in much of the scientific literature.[1]

In the early 1990s George Bennett, an Austrian-Anglo wildlife painter who lived for some years in Soqulu, a resident area in Taveuni, started a bounty ($20) for any Xixuthrus terribilis specimens collected from the island. The first specimen collected was a broken male from Somosomo, who had hit the lights of a car driving at night. Living in Taveuni allowed him in about 10 years to get around 10-15 specimens. He sold them overseas due to financial problems. In 2000 he moved to Viti Levu and the Xixuthrus terribilis hunting stopped. George Bennett died in Viti Levu 10 March 2009. Now the beetle is protected under Fijian law and is no longer exported.

Bibliography

  1. ^ [1] YANEGA D., D. OLSON D., SHUTE S., KOMIYA Z., 2004 - The Xixuthrus species of Fiji (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae: Prioninae)

External links

  • Xixuthrus terribilis pictures


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