Black And Yellow Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata

Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata

That title is quite a mouthful, I know! Try saying it backwards, but watch you don’t bump into anything as you do 😉

Stopping along a field margin where grassland meets woodland, pausing and just looking, I saw this brightly coloured individual basking in the sunshine. It was quite spectacular when a pair of wings appeared from behind those distinctive black and yellow wing casings (or yellow and black, depending on which way you are walking), and it lifted off into the humid air, turned and hovered off towards the cooling shade of the woods.

Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata

Black and Yellow Longhorn Beetle Rutpela maculata

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June 2018, local field margin, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Black & Yellow Longhorn Beetle

Rutpela maculata

This is certainly one of those standout beetles which is fairly hard to miss on ones travels. This is not only because of it bright banana yellow and black colouration, but because of its extraordinary long antennae, hence the name ‘longhorn’. I often see it feeding on pollen or nectar on flowers on the edge of my local wood. It is from a family of beetles delightfully called Cerambycidae, the Longhorn Beetles.

Also called the ‘Harlequin Longhorn’, or the ‘Spotted Longhorn’. The black spots or banding can be variable. They can grow up to 20mm long.

The larvae live in decaying wood of all kinds on which it feeds. They can live up to 3 years in this larval stage, and a further 1 year as an adult beetle.

The adult is seen May to September, and is found on flowers in hedgerows or on woodland margins. Widespread and common throughout.

Photographs taken June 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire.