T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Beetle (Tiger longicorn beetle) Aridaeus thoracicus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Chrysomeloidea
Family: Cerambycidae
Genus: Aridaeus
Species: A. thoracicus
Binomial name: Aridaeus thoracicus
Common name: Tiger longicorn beetle, Flower Longicorn beetle

Aridaeus thoracicus is a flying, wasp mimic beetle commonly found in Australia. It was first seen in New Zealand in New Plymouth, Taranaki in 1954. It has now become established in New Zealand and has been reported in the Bay of Plenty and the Coromandel. It is thought they were introduced as grubs in imported eucalyptus logs.

Aridaeus thoracicus is 20 mm long insect with forewings that are bright orange-brown in colour with black patterns that mimic the abdomen and waist of a wasp. It moves like a wasp too. 
The compounded eyes are also notched like the eyes of wasps. The antenna arises from within this notch.
The femur of each leg is swollen in the middle. Orange hairs may be noticed on the legs and thorax.
The sexes are easily distinguishable from their antennal length: The male's antennae extends well beyond the abdomen, while the females are much shorter and will only reach the apex of the abdomen.

Adults are diurnal and can be found in the warmer months on flowering plants, feeding on the pollen and nectar, particularly those in the myrtle family. 
The females lay eggs under the bark or in cracks within the bark of dead trees. The larvae of Aridaeus thoracicus are oligophagous wood borers that feed on the wood of a variety of dying or felled trees. Some of the reported tree species are mangroves, eucalyptus, laurel, pear, apple and Leptospermum species.
The larvae pupate inside the wood and when the adults hatch they cut emergence holes through the bark with their strong mandibles.

A female

A female in profile

Photo showing difference between male and female Aridaeus thoracicus. Thanks to http://www.cerambycoidea.com/
Thanks to Wikipedia for text and Information: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/