Sabertooth longhorn beetles are quite beautiful, with intricate patterns on their elytra—hardened forewings—that resemble tree bark. They are also really big: including the serrated jaws of males (like this one), they can reach seven inches long, making them one of the longest beetles in the world.

Living in humid rain forests in the Amazon River basin from Brazil west to Peru and Ecuador, these beetles are at risk. In recent decades, millions of acres of Amazon rain forest have been cut down to make way for cattle ranches, soybean fields and other uses. The beetles are also a collector’s item—a single specimen can go for thousands of dollars. Indeed, the practice of collecting these long-lived beetles—larvae spend several years feeding under the bark of rain forest trees—is another cause of their decline. Prized for their striking appearance, the true value of these beetles is as part of the Amazonian ecosystem.

Sabertooth longhorn beetle
Macrodontia cervicornis
3.9–6.5 inches, 7 inches with mandibles (10-16.5 cm, 17.7 cm)
Vulnerable (iucn)
Ecological Role
AMNH Specimen Number
AMNH_IZC 00292290