Prionoplus reticularis White, 1843

REDUCED_NZ-Ento-Soc-Insect-Playing-Cards_Huhu-Beetlel REDC

Common name: Huhu, tunga rere, tunga rākau, pepe-te-muimui

Order: Coleoptera       Family: Cerambycidae

Size: Up to 50mm long

The huhu is our largest endemic beetle species and is probably best known for their larvae (“huhu grubs”) which make for a tasty treat. It occurs throughout New Zealand from both very dry to very damp forest. Females lay eggs into the rotting wood of a range of native and exotic tree species. The larvae which hatch from these eggs feed on and live in the wood for for two to three years. When they change into adults they gain wings but lose functioning mouthparts meaning they cannot feed and will only survive for about a fortnight. The larvae are important ecologically as they help to break down dead wood to be recycled in the ground for nutrients.

As night-flyers, the main predator for huhu used to be ruru but they are now prey for introduced species such as mice and magpies.


Scion. (Revised 2009). Prionoplus reticularis, the huhu beetle. Retrieved from

T.E.R:R.A.I.N Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network (Last updated 2015). Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa gonerilla gonerilla). Retrieved from