Antennae much longer than the body is a feature of beetles in the family of longhorns, or Cerambycidae, to which this alpine longhorn beetle belongs. Their antennae—which are folded back in this photograph, but which in life face forward and outward—sense the beetles’ surroundings, helping them find food and mates.

A protected species in the E.U., alpine longhorn beetles live in open woodlands across Europe, often high in the mountains. But in parts of their range they have declined or disappeared, mainly because of human-caused fragmentation of their woodland habitat, and clearing of the dead and decaying trees they require. (The beetles’ larvae live for several years inside tree limbs or tree trunks, digesting wood for nutrition.)

To develop the best methods to protect the beetles across Europe, researchers in Romania are monitoring remaining populations, training forest managers and experimenting with ways to add decaying tree habitats to the forests for the beetles to live in.

Alpine longhorn beetle
Rosalia alpina
0.6–1.6 inches (14–40 mm) not including antennae
Vulnerable (iucn)
Ecological Role
AMNH Specimen Number
AMNH_IZC 00292129