Ant Cosplay (Ant-Mimicking Longhorn Beetle, Cerambycidae)

head on view of black ant-mimic beetle with brown mites with yellow pollen on its antennae
Covered in pollen and mites: a longhorn beetle makes its way around a dandelion flower.

Here’s an old friend with a masterful disguise that didn’t fool me or the mites waiting on board for departure. Mimicry among insects is so fascinating, and most often very beautiful. This longhorn beetle, Cerambycidae, is a rare find for me, as I think I’ve only seen one other longhorn mimic — a skinny wasp-suited one in a cactus flower in Florida (which I’m sure I’ll get around to posting one of these days…or years).

Anyway, it’s an ant suit any mimic could be proud of. Please read on, several photos below.

Black ant-mimic longhorn crawling over dandelion flower with mites on its legs
Perhaps a new definition of heavy-legged for this longhorn beetle.
View of ant-mimic beetle on dandelion showing some of the white adbominal markings
This ant-mimicking longhorn beetle appears not to have fooled the mites.
longhorn with mites on blades of grass almost falling out of picture; dandelion in the background
The longhorn was understandably a little wobbly traversing blades of grass.
Longhorn ant-mimic viewed from above, half on a blade of grass with dandelion in the background
The longhorn reaching out for the next blade of grass.
Front facing black longhorn beetle hunched over tip of blade of grass; dandelion in background
Horns out for this beetle which just kept trying to hang on. (In general but but also onto that blade of grass.)
Black longhorn beetle with antennae held to the side starts to sit up at the end of a blade of grass; dandelion in background
This might be the surest footing the longhorn achieved, which is key, because…
purple-tinged point of green blade of grass in front of a background of a dandelion flower
…the longhorn could finally take off for flight, leaving me a final, tardy photo without a bug.

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