Quick facts

Common name: Musk beetle

Scientific name: Aromia moschata

Family: Cerambycidae

Habitat: woodland and wetland

Predators: birds, amphibians and possibly large spiders

Origin: native

What do musk beetles look like?

Adults: the musk beetle is a large and narrow beetle. In fact it’s one of the UK’s longest beetles and may be around 4cm in length. It has long antennae which distinguish it as a member of the longhorn beetles. It is a metallic coppery blue-green colour.

Larvae: are yellow-white in colour with darker brown heads.

Musk beetle extreme close-up

Credit: Adrian Dutton / Alamy Stock Photo

What do musk beetles eat?

Adults: are active during the day. They feed on nectar and flowers in woodland.
Larvae: feed on willow wood.

How do musk beetles breed?

Female musk beetles lay their eggs in the wood of living willow trees. The hatched larvae live and develop in the tree, as well as feeding on its wood, for up to three years. After those three years, the larvae go into pupation and burrow out of the wood when they emerge as adults.

Musk beetle female on a blade of grass

Credit: Joseph Lynn / WTML

Where do musk beetles live?

Female musk beetles lay their eggs in the wood of living willow trees. The hatched larvae live and develop in the tree, as well as feeding on its wood, for up to three years. After those three years, the larvae go into pupation and burrow out of the wood when they emerge as adults.

Did you know?

Musk beetles get their name from the musky scent they give off when threatened.

Signs and spotting tips

Look out for musk beetles during the day in low vegetation in wet woodland. You’re most likely to see them in areas with willow trees, particularly on tree trunks where they sun themselves during the day.

Musk beetles mating on bark with moss and lichen

Credit: Alex Hyde / naturepl.com

Threats and conservation

The musk beetle is common in the UK. It is not threatened at present.