Cactus Longhorn Beetle

Moneilema gigas ?

Moneilema photo © by Mike Plagens

Observed in Florida Canyon, Sta. Rita Mountains, Arizona, USA. 28 July 2013. It is feeding on a pad of Opuntia engelmanii and is close to 15mm long.

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Various species of cacti can be found growing in or near sycamore woodland galleries. Generally, cacti grow on rocky ledges or terraces well above flood stage. There many of the same insect fauna found in the lower desert can be found feeding on cacti. One of the most conspicuous is the Cactus Longhorn Beetle. Adults may feed on the tender buds or growing tips, while the larvae tunnel inside the cactus stems. If handled this one can pinch hard with its mandibles and also has a sharp spine on the sides of the thorax.

Chrysomelidae -- Leaf Beetle Family

More Information:

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Arizona Naturalist
Sycamore Canyons
Invertebrates in Arizona's Sycamore Canyons


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 3 Oct. 2014