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Funded in part by award DEB0447694 from the National Science Foundation to M. Caterino.

Last updated 01/16/2009

  California Beetle Project > Endangered beetles > Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle

Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle
Desmocerus californicus dimorphus
listed Threatened August, 1980

The Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle lives in California's Central Valley. The beetle is closely dependent on elderberry trees (Sambucus). The beetle's larvae tunnel through and eat the pithy interior of its branches, and the adults are rarely found far from the plant.

Elderberry trees tend to be concentrated around streams and rivers, and the 'VELB' is restricted to such areas. The beetle was historically distributed throughout the Valley. But as much as 90% of their habitat has been cleared for agriculture. Much of the remainder is regularly exposed to pesticides, and faces threats from invasive plant species.

Efforts to save the Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle have employed multiple strategies. The most important is protection of existing riparian habitats. Only a small number of native populations of the beetle remain. Providing for the species' long term security will also require restoration of impacted riparian areas. Once suitable habitats are created and/or protected, conservation biologists have been able to successfully transplant elderberry trees inhabited by beetles into these areas.


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