This beetle belongs to the Mustache family and is the only representative of the genus Rosalia in all of Europe. This genus is relic, it has come down to our time from the distant past, having survived several geological epochs. Alpine barbel is a very large and amazingly beautiful beetle. It is described in detail in the article.
This beetle looks very impressive. It has large dimensions: in length from 15 to 40 mm, the body itself is black, but covered on top with blue, blue or gray-blue hairline, which looks very elegant. The dorsum is marked with a black spot near the center of the upper margin, its sides have a blunt tooth and a sharp tubercle on both sides of the disc. The flat elytra are decorated with a changeable dark pattern (there are barbels without it): in the middle there is a wide band and a spot at each edge. The beetle has very long antennae: in the male they are twice as long as the calf, and in the female they are shorter, they go beyond the elytra with only two segments; they are blue in color, with transverse stripes of thick black bristles.
This handsome man is quite widespread. In Europe, it can be found throughout the territory, from the Alps and the Pyrenees to the southernmost border of Switzerland, as well as in Moldova, Belarus and the Ukrainian Carpathians. Scientists have confirmed that the Alpine barbel lives in Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, in northern Iran, in some countries of the Transcaucasus. In Russia, its habitat covers the Voronezh, Rostov, Samara, Chelyabinsk, Belgorod regions, Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, as well as Bashkortostan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Karachay-Cherkessia, the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic and Crimea.
Alpine barbel prefers broad-leaved and mixed forests, which grow beech, elm and hornbeam plants. It settles in the mountains at an altitude of up to 1500 meters above sea level.
Adult barbels come out of the wood after wintering around mid-June. They fly until September, then they start looking for a secluded place, and in October they again go under the bark for the next wintering.
They feed on tree sap, gnawing holes in the trunks of beeches, elms, poplars, maples, hornbeams, chestnuts, nuts, pears, willows, lindens, hawthorns and other hardwoods. For life, old trees are chosen, often with wood that is rotting or damaged by fire, frost, mushrooms. They prefer open, well-lit areas that are warmed by the sun from all sides. In cloudy weather they hide, and in clear weather they actively run through the trees and fly. By the way, these beauties -excellent flyers and fighters: if someone attacks them, they fight back very actively with their powerful jaws.
The barbel is a large beetle with bright and catchy colors. Nevertheless, this does not prevent him from perfectly disguising himself. In nature, it is difficult to notice this insect when it sits quietly on a beech tree, merging with the gray bark. Also, black spots on the body help it "dissolve" among the glare of light and areas of shadow.
Alpine barbel is a loner, but sometimes these beetles gather in large swarms. Scientists still cannot answer the question of when exactly this happens and why they need it.
After mating, the female lays her eggs in bark cracks and crevices on the trunks of old trees at a height of three to six meters. The larvae appear in about two weeks if favorable weather conditions help. If the summer is rainy and cloudy, then the larvae can hatch in a month. They are large (up to 40 mm long and 8 mm wide), fleshy, white in color with orange markings on the pronotum. After birth, they immediately "screw" deep into the trunk. There she gnaws out a "cradle" for herself, where she turns into a chrysalis.
From a pupa to an adult, the transformation occurs only in the third or fourth year, when the young beetle gets out of the tree. This is how the alpine barbel, or alpine lumberjack, breeds.
Despite its wide distribution area, it is on the verge ofextinction of the alpine barbel. The Red Book of many countries, including Russia, contains a record that this beetle, as a rare relic species, is under state protection. On the verge of extinction, he was in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Germany and Poland. Its number has sharply decreased in recent decades in Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and Ukraine. It is already almost impossible to meet this beautiful bright beetle in Moravia and the Balkans.
The reason for this is very simple: massive and uncontrolled deforestation, especially deciduous and mixed, as well as irresponsible catching of beetles, as the Alpine barbel is a coveted exhibit among collectors who pay several hundred euros for it.
The international community is also taking action to preserve the bright and amazing beetle in nature - it is listed on the European Red List, as well as on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, protected in many reserves.
Alpine barbel has become a symbol of the Danube-Ipoli National Park in Hungary.
The beetle cleans its elytra with its hind limbs while making a loud chirping sound as if tickled.
During the mating season, barbels gently chirp with ladies and make aggressive sounds towards rivals.
The above describes how the Alpine barbel (Rosalia alpina) traditionally looks like. But sometimes in nature there are beetles of other colors: pure black without a blue cover or pink. Probably the Swedish researcher Carl Linnaeus, who first described it, metprecisely the pink barbel, therefore he called the species "Rosalia alpine".
Now you know what an alpine barbel is, what it looks like, where it lives and breeds.