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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Chewing through wood: harlequin beetle

Newly developed harlequin beetles escape the trees where they are born by chewing through the wood with large, strong mandibles.

  "This massive pair of mandibles belongs to a South American harlequin beetle, and is probably used only once in its life. The harlequin beetle larva lives inside a tree, where it feeds on the wood. Here it pupates, and when the beetle emerges, it has to chew its way to freedom." (Foy and Oxford Scientific Films 1982:161)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Foy, Sally; Oxford Scientific Films. 1982. The Grand Design: Form and Colour in Animals. Lingfield, Surrey, U.K.: BLA Publishing Limited for J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd, Aldine House, London. 238 p.
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© The Biomimicry Institute

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Acrocinus longimanus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)


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Harlequin beetle

Not to be confused with harlequin cabbage bug.

The harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus) is a large tropical longhorned beetle native to the Americas, especially from southern Mexico to Brazil in South America.[1] 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.[2] 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 (3 inches) in length.[3] It is also famous for carrying pseudoscorpions as a form of phoresy.


  1. ^ Henderson, Carrol L.; Janzen, Daniel H. (2010). Butterflies, Moths, and Other Invertebrates of Costa Rica: A Field Guide. University of Texas Press. p. 130. ISBN 0-292-71966-3. Retrieved 24 Jan 2011. 
  2. ^ Evans, Arthur V.; Bellamy, Charles L. (2000). An inordinate fondness for beetles. University of California Press. p. 130. ISBN 0-520-22323-3. Retrieved 24 Jan 2011. 
  3. ^ "Harlequin beetle." Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

Further reading[edit]

  • Zeh, David W.; Zeh, Jeanne A.; Bonilla, Melvin M. (2003). "Phylogeography of the giant harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus)". Journal of Biogeography (Oxford) 30: 747–753. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2699.2003.00880.x. ISSN 0305-0270. 
  • Zeh, David W.; Zeh, Jeanne A.; Tavakilian, Gerard (1992). "Sexual Selection and Sexual Dimorphism in the Harlequin Beetle Acrocinus longimanus". Biotropica (Oxford) 24 (1): 86–96. doi:10.2307/2388476. ISSN 0006-3606. 
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