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Phoracantha longhorn beetles in New Zealand

Scion is the leading provider of forest-related knowledge in New Zealand
Formerly known as the Forest Research Institute, Scion has been a leader in research relating to forest health for over 50 years. The Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute continues to provide science that will protect all forests from damage caused by insect pests, pathogens and weeds. The information presented below arises from these research activities.

From Forest Health News No. 222, February 2012.

Phoracantha is a large genus of longhorn beetles. It is predominately Australian and is mainly associated with Eucalyptus. Two of the more common species in Australia, Phoracantha semipunctata and P. recurva have become established in many parts of the world where eucalypts are grown. Phoracantha semipunctata has been established in New Zealand since 1873.

Several frequently visited internet sites state that the Australian longhorn beetle P. recurva  is also established in New Zealand. These sites include isc/?compid=5&dsid=40371&loadmodule=datasheet&pa ge=481&site=144, Phoracantha_recurva.doc and fao/011/i0640e/i0640e10s.pdf. This is not surprising because when Phoracantha was first recorded in New Zealand it was misidentified as P. recurva and was referred to by that name for a long time. However, with the odd exception, it has been known as P. semipunctata in New Zealand for about the last fifty years.

Duffy (1963), in a monograph of Australian timber beetles, states that both P. semipunctata and P. recurva occur in New Zealand and Wang (1995), in a revision of Phoracantha, says the same. Neither of these authors examined Phoracantha material from New Zealand so it is presumed that their records are based on the literature.

There is only one species of Phoracantha established in New Zealand and it is P. semipunctata.

John Bain


Phoracantha semipunctata (Present in New Zealand)
Phoracantha recurva (NOT present in New Zealand)

Duffy, E.A.J. 1963. A monograph of the immature stages of Australasian timber beetles (Cerambycidae). British Museum, London.
Wang, Q. (1995). Revision of Phoracantha. Invertebrate Taxonomy 9(5): 865-958.


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(Scion is the trading name of the New Zealand Forest Research Institute Limited.)


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