Travelling ‘Bostrichid’ - Bostrichus capucinus (Linnaeus, 1758)

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The Ohio State University’s Plant Pest Diagnostic Clinic (PPDC) received a sample containing a dead beetle along with a section of wood that had an exit hole (see image below) from a client in Franklin County, Ohio last year. Due to the distinctive morphology, the beetle has been identified as Bostrichus capucinus.



This is the dead Bostrichus capucinus we received showing the characteristic red to reddish brown elytra and sculptured pronotum. The actual beetle is about 9.8 mm long.



B. capucinus dorsal view (left) and lateral view (right) showing characteristic sculptured pronotum.



Section of the Erica arborea commonly known as tree heath or white heath showing the beetle exit hole.  


Photographs were sent to a beetle taxonomist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for confirmation, and he confirmed that it is Bostrichus capucinus (Coleoptera – Bostrichidae).

Descriptions of B. capucinus in the literature have reported that the beetle has been intercepted several times at US ports, but has not yet established (Fisher 1950, Ivie 2002). However, the beetle taxonomist at the Carnegie Museum confirmed that he has documented this species several times from Lindgren funnel trap samples collected in the eastern United States (Personal communication).  Although most resources claim it has not established in the US, recovery of this species in traps deployed in suburban and forested areas (not near ports or commercial properties) warrants further investigation into the status of B. capucinus. At this stage, it is unknown whether there are reproducing populations of B. capucinus in the US or which tree species they may be using as their hosts in these regions.  Further research is needed.


This species is widespread throughout Europe and the Mediterranean region and is indeed recorded traveling worldwide through timber exports (Ozgen, 2018). The client who sent this sample to us was a timber importer. He found this dead beetle within a section of Erica arborea (Ericaceae) that was imported from Italy to make furniture. This one specimen was the only beetle he found. The OSU PPDC kept the sample and the log in a -20C freezer for a few days to kill other beetles and life stages if there were any, but we could not find any other beetles or life stages apart from the single dead specimen. Erica arborea is an evergreen, bushy hardwood tree native to the Mediterranean basin and northern Africa. Often its timber is used to make furniture due to the hardiness of the wood (Read More).


Bostrichid beetles are famous for damaging a wide range of trees and traveling with trade, especially with seasoned timber and furniture products. The host range of B. capucinus in the Mediterranean region includes dead or dying trees of Canadian oak (Quercus conferta), evergreen oak (Quercus ilex), white mulberry (Morus alba), laurustinus viburnum (Viburnum tinus), various trees in the genus Pinus, sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), common hazel (Corylus avellana), and horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) (Ozgen, 2018).  In the United States, evergreen oaks, white mulberry, laurustinus viburnum, Pinus spp., common hazel, horse chestnut, and sweet chestnut can act as common hosts to B. capucinus, but none of these trees are native to the United States. While evergreen oaks, laurustinus viburnum, common hazel, horse chestnut and sweet chestnut are native to the Mediterranean region, white mulberry is native to China. These tree species or the products made from them (e.g., furniture) can act as secondary hosts to the beetle. In addition, this beetle can cause damage as a secondary pest to many other tree species belonging to the families Ericaceae, Fabaceae, Fagaceae, Moraceae, Myrtaceae, Rhamnaceae, and Vitaceae (Ozgen, 2018). Lodos (1985) reported a heavy beetle infestation of Turkish furniture made from horse chestnut trees. Horse chestnut is mostly distributed in the north-eastern and north-western United States, especially in parks and forest edges.  Horse chestnut timber is commonly used to make furniture.


The current distribution of B. capucinus ranges from most of Europe, the Middle East, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, parts of Russia, and China. In Europe, reported a research-grade record of this beetle as far north as Liverpool, England in 2021.


Because of the complexity of the regulatory efforts, USDA has categorized this species as non-quarantine for the continental United States (personal communication).




Bostrichus capucinus (Linnaeus, 1758) Capuchin Beetle -


Bostricus capucinus in site-


Fisher WS. (1950) A revision of the North American Species of Beetles belonging to the family Bostrichidae. United States Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publications 698: 1–157. [Google Scholar]


GBIF.ORG site on B. capuchinus -


Images of the beetle, record in UK -


Ivie MA. (2002) 69. Bostrichidae Latreille 1802. In: Arnett RHJr (†), Thomas MC, Skelley PE, Frank JH. (Eds) American Beetles Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press, Boca Raton, London, New York, Washington: 2: 233–244. [Google Scholar]


Lodos, N. (1985) Türkiye'de mobilyaların önemli yeni bir zararlısı: Bostrychus capucinus (L) (Coleoptera: Bostrichidae). Türk. Bit. Kor. Derg. 9(3), 183-188.


Ozgen, Inanc, 2018.  “NEW FINDINGS” ON BOSTRICHUS CAPUCINUS LINNAEUS, 1758 (COLEOPTERA: BOSTRICHIDAE) IN TURKEY * Firat Univesity, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering, 23119, Elazig, Turkey. by PSP Volume 27 – No. 5/2018 pages 2829-2833 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin.