Sunday, 11 July 2010

Featured insect: Ceresium tuberculatum (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae)

One of the unfortunate aspects of South Pacific entomology is the lack of Pacific Islanders that are actually involved in the discovery and naming of their biota. Thankfully, there are signs that this situation is beginning to change. Last August on a trip to Fiji I had the immense privilege of meeting a number of young scientists from Fiji, the Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands. One of these was Hilda Waqa, the senior author of this paper describing two new Fijian longhorn beetles, one of which is the beetle pictured, Ceresium tuberculatum.

The Cerambycidae commonly known as the longhorn beetles tend to be wood borers in the larval stages. These larval stages can last for a long time---several years in some species. The larvae of some of the larger species are eaten occasionally and are considered delicacies in some areas. Unfortunately, very little is known about the biology of Ceresium tuberculatum specifically. It has been collected from the Fijian islands of Gau and Viti Levu, and have been collected from primary, undisturbed forest in the heart of Viti Levu as well as secondary, plantation forests in the vicinity of Suva.

The paper is well illustrated with some very clear photos of various characters that are useful for identification. Unfortunately though, there is little in the way of comparison with other species of Ceresium in Fiji and the South Pacific. This makes the paper less useful than it might have been. It remains a valuable addition to the literature, and it is well worth having a look at for the illustrations alone, whether or not you have any further interest in Cerambycidae.

Waqa H, Lingafelter SW. 2009. New Fijian Callidiopini (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). In: Fiji Arthropods XV. Edited by Neal L. Evenhuis & Daniel J. Bickel. Bishop Museum Occasional
106: 3–15 (2009).

No comments: