Common name: Squeaking long horn beetle
Scientific name: Hexatricha pulverulenta
Size: about 2cm
Habitat: Native forest
The squeaking long horn beetle is a rather common wood-boring species found throughout New Zealand in native and pine plantation forests. In summer months you can observe the female adults wandering along tree trunks in search of a good site to lay their eggs, often with a male following behind who is interested in mating with her. Females use their powerful mandibles to bite holes in tree bark to make a hole suitable for her to lay eggs into. Although the adults probably only live for a few months, the larval stage is very long; probably between two and three years.
Squeaking long horn beetles, which have very long, feathery antennae, get their common name from the defensive squeaking sound made when picked up or disturbed. This behaviour, called stridulation, is common among many long horned beetles around the world, and is created by rubbing a ridged part of the body against another body part to make a hissing or chirping sound. Adult beetles will readily squeak in response to being annoyed by a human, suggesting that its function is to startle a potential predator after attack.