This is the largest beetle found in New Zealand and is common throughout the country. It is about 35 mm long and has a pair of long, jointed antennae. The body is brown and the wing cases have a characteristic pattern of lighter brown markings giving the insect a crocodile skin appearance. It is readily attracted to light and so frequently enters houses at dusk or early evening. If incautiously handled, it is capable of giving a powerful nip with its mandibles, but apart from this it is a harmless insect.
The grub stage is the well-known huhu grub which lives in timber and does considerable damage to posts and dead or fallen trees. The introduced pine trees (Pinus spp.) are often severely damaged by this grub. It was a delicacy of the Maori. (See also Beetles.)
by Roy Alexander Harrison, D.SC., Senior Lecturer in Agricultural Zoology, Lincoln Agricultural College.