Mole Beetle

Cerambycidae, Anoploderminae,

Hypocephalini, Hypocephalus armatus. Portuguese: Vaqueiro, carocha, Iâ-Iâ de cintura (Brazil).

The range of this curious beetle is extremely local, apparently confined within the radius of about 50 kilometers of the village of Condeuba in Bahia, Brazil. It is a fossorial insect, but its burrowing purposes still elude entomologists, and its early stages are poorly known. The larvae are probably root feeders, judging from the subterranean habits of the adults. Nearly all specimens that have been found have been males, crawling over open ground in December.

Both sexes are without flight wings but otherwise are similarly shaped, fusiform and with a strongly constricted "waist" between the ovoid, smooth, shiny black prothorax, and rhomboid, rough-surfaced, dark brown wing covers, the latter tapering to a point posteriorly (fig. 9.12f). The hind legs are much larger and heavier than the others; the head and its appendages are reduced. The beetle is fairly large (BL 4-5 cm).

Soon after its discovery, the species became a prize for beetle collectors. They were caught by locals in the vicinity of Condeuba and sold abroad. At one time, specimens were also caught by native women, who tied them with a ribbon to their babies' cradles for decoration and to amuse the infants (Gounelle 1905).

Reference

Gounelle, E. 1905. Contribution a l'étude des moeurs à'Hypocephalus armatus (Col.). Soc. Entomol. France Ann. 74: 105-108.

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