A costumed insect


The harlequin beetle brightens up the tropics of South America.


A female harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus).
A female harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus).
Didier Descouens

This brightly-coloured bug is the harlequin beetle (Acrocinus longimanus).

A large, longhorned beetle native to the Americas, the harlequin beetle is most often found in South America between southern Mexico and Brazil.

The name is due to the elaborate pattern of multi-coloured markings on the insect’s wing covers, thought to resemble the patterns of a chequered harlequin costume.

Adults are very large: their bodies can grow up to 76 mm (3 inches) in length. Their forelegs are also extremely long. The forelegs of the males, particularly, are often even longer than their bodies.

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