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The longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae; also known as long-horned beetles or longicorns) are a cosmopolitan family of beetles, typically characterized by extremely long antennae, which are often as long as or longer than the beetle's body. In various members of the family, however, the antennae are quite short (e.g., Neandra brunnea, figured below) and such species can be difficult to distinguish from related beetle families such as Chrysomelidae. The family is large, with over 20,000 species described, slightly more than half from the Eastern Hemisphere. Several are serious pests, with the larvae boring into wood, where they can cause extensive damage to either living trees or untreated lumber (or, occasionally, to wood in buildings; the old-house borer, Hylotrupes bajulus, being a particular problem indoors). A number of species mimic ants, bees, and wasps, though a majority of species are cryptically colored. The rare titan beetle (Titanus giganteus) from northeastern South America is often considered the largest (though not the heaviest, and not the longest including legs) insect, with a maximum known body length of just over 16.7 centimetres (6.6 in).
As with many large families, different authorities have tended to recognize many different subfamilies, or sometimes split subfamilies off as separate families entirely (e.g., Disteniidae, Oxypeltidae, and Vesperidae); there is thus some instability and controversy regarding the constituency of the Cerambycidae. There are few truly defining features for the group as a whole, at least as adults, as there are occasional species or species groups which may lack any given feature; the family and its closest relatives, therefore, constitute a taxonomically difficult group, and relationships of the various lineages are still poorly understood.
There are eight subfamilies:
- Cerambycinae Latreille, 1802
- Dorcasominae Lacordaire, 1869
- Lamiinae Latreille, 1825
- Lepturinae Latreille, 1802
- Necydalinae Latreille, 1825
- Parandrinae Blanchard, 1845
- Prioninae Latreille, 1802
- Spondylidinae Audinet-Serville, 1832
Notable genera and species
- Moneilema – cactus longhorn beetles
- Anoplophora chinensis – citrus long-horned beetle
- Phymatodes nitidus
- Anoplophora glabripennis – Asian long-horned beetle
- Tetraopes tetrophthalmus – red milkweed beetle
- Desmocerus californicus dimorphus – valley elderberry longhorn beetle
- Petrognatha gigas – giant African longhorn
- Rosalia alpina - Rosalia longhorn
- Aridaeus thoracicus - Tiger Longicorn (Australia)
- "Cerambycidae Latreille, 1802". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=114497. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- Max Barclay (2010). "Titanus giganteus Linnaeus (1771)". Natural History Museum. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/species-of-the-day/biodiversity/loss-of-habitat/titanus-giganteus/index.html. Retrieved June 6, 2011.
- Sergio Antonio Vanin & Sergio Ide (2002). "Classificação comentada de Coleoptera [An annotated classification of the Coleoptera]". In C. Costa, S. A. Vanin, J. M. Lobo & A. Melic (in Portuguese) (PDF). Proyecto de Red Iberoamericana de Biogeografía y Entomología Sistemática PrIBES 2002. Monografias Tercer Milenio (M3M). 3. pp. 193–206. ISBN 84-922495-8-7. http://www.sea-entomologia.org/PDF/M3M_PRIBES_2002/193_206_Vanin.pdf.
- Miguel A. Monné (2006). "Catalogue of the Cerambycidae (Coleoptera) of the Neotropical Region. Part III. Subfamilies Parandrinae, Prioninae, Anoplodermatinae, Aseminae, Spondylidinae, Lepturinae, Oxypeltinae, and addenda to the Cerambycinae and Lamiinae" (PDF excerpt). Zootaxa 1212: 1–244. ISBN 1-877407-96-8. http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2006f/z01212p244f.pdf.
- Arnett, et al. (2002) American Beetles, Vol. 2. CRC Press, 861 pp.
- Patrice Bouchard, Yves Bousquet, Anthony E. Davies, Miguel A. Alonso-Zarazaga, John F. Lawrence, Chris H. C. Lyal, Alfred F. Newton, Chris A. M. Reid, Michael Schmitt, S. Adam Ślipiński, Andrew B. T. Smith (2010). "Family-group names in Coleoptera (Insecta)". ZooKeys 88: 1–972. doi:10.3897/zookeys.88.807. http://www.pensoft.net/journals/zookeys/article/807/family-group-names-in-coleoptera-insecta-Cerambycidae.