Black-and-yellow longhorn beetle

A black-and-yellow longhorn beetle on an oxe-eye daisy

Black-and-yellow longhorn beetle © Tom Hibbert

A black-and-yellow longhorn beetle clambering over a leaf

Black-and-yellow longhorn beetle © Tom Hibbert

Black-and-yellow longhorn beetle

Scientific name: Rutpela maculata
This brightly-coloured beetle is often found feeding on flowers on warm days in late spring and summer.

Species information


Length: 13-20 mm

Conservation status


When to see

May to August


The black-and-yellow longhorn is a fairly large and colourful beetle. It's a common sight across most of Europe and is widespread in the UK. As the name suggests, it's black and yellow with very long antennae - it doesn't really have horns! These beetles are usually found in areas close to woodland, where there is plenty of dead wood for their larvae to feed on.

The adult beetles can be spotted between May and August. They're most active in warm weather, when they visit a wide range of flowers to feed on pollen and nectar. They're particularly fond of umbellifers like cow parsley and hogweed. After mating, females lay their eggs on fallen trees and branches, or rotting stumps. The larvae live within the wood, feeding on it, for two or three years. After pupating and emerging from the wood as adult beetles, they only live for a few more weeks.

How to identify

A distinctive black and yellow beetle, with long legs and very long antennae. The head and the section of the body just behind it are black. The wing cases are yellow with black markings and taper towards the rear. The black markings vary, but usually appear as two complete black lines towards the rear of the beetle, and two broken black lines towards the front. The antennae have alternating bands of black and yellow.


Widespread and common in England and Wales, though more patchily distributed in northern England. Found in southwest Scotland, with scattered records from further north.

Did you know?

This species is sometimes called the spotted longhorn beetle, or more rarely the harlequin longhorn beetle.