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Longhorn Beetle Survey

Longhorn beetles are a  group of beetles who belong to the Family Cerembycidae. There are around 20,000 species around the world, 60+ known species in the UK, 28 of which have been observed in Scotland (not all of these species are known to be successfully established in Scotland, however). Their name arises from their characteristically long antennae which they use to seek out suitable nesting sites and mates. There are many colourful species, some with warning colouration to ward off predators.

Ecological Importance

Longhorn beetles are an immensely important member of woodland ecosystems. They eat      decaying wood and return the nutrients to the living ecosystem. Alongside their important role in recycling they pollinate woodland flowers and act as an essential food source for many other animals.

Threats and Status

British ancient native woodland has been reduced down to 2% of its original mass over the last 200 years. This has had an impact on many woodland fauna and may be partially responsible for the disappearance of around 5 species of Longhorn beetle since the 1800s. Currently around 20% of Cerambycidae are considered as nationally threatened (Red data book list) in the UK whilst 41% are considered nationally scarce. In Scotland, records of the diversity of Longhorns are incomplete and unclear.

Because of our rapidly changing landscape due to human behaviour, climate change and land-use changes it is important to keep a close watch on how these events are impacting our woodland invertebrates. By collecting records and understanding populations changes or the arrival of new species, we can ensure the conservation of our native Longhorn beetles and the conservation of their important role in the woodland.

Survey Techniques

Summer is the optimum time to find Longhorns, when the adults have emerged. Have a look on broad flower heads (such as Cow parsley), trees and dead wood. Without disturbing living or dead trees, you can also search in nooks and crannies of trunks and on branches. A sweep net may also be responsibly used to survey woodland flora.

How to take part

If you find a longhorn beetle please collect the following information and submit your findings here. Please download the Scottish Longhorn beetle guide to the right and the ‘Grid Ref UK and Ireland’ App to assist with identifying the Grid reference of your nest. Click here for Andriods.

1.      Photograph of the beetle

2.      Your name

3.      The date of your finding

4.      The habitat in which you found it

5.      What was the beetle doing

6.      Where did you find it

7.      The grid reference

 Good luck! For any questions, please contact Scotland@buglife.org.uk

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