Journal article Open Access
Anthracocentrus arabicus (Thomson, 1877) was first reported from Israel by Bytinski-Salz (1956). The species is widely distributed throughout North Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, (Drumont & Komiya 2010) and Saharan and Sahelian countries (Eldow 2011). In Israel, it was always considered as a very rare species, although it is one of the largest insects in the area reaching the length of 95 mm and more. It is known in Israel from the Dead Sea area and southwards along the Arava Valley. On 31 July and 13 August 2017 I visited 'En Yahav [30°40'N 35°15'E], which is located in the center of the Arava Valley, in order to make some observations on one of the local populations of A. arabicus. In total, 13 living adults (11 males among them) and 12 dead specimens (9 males) were seen. The largest male specimen reached 87 mm and the largest female reached 65 mm. The smallest adult was a 41 mm male. The observed activity took place in two close-by locations inside 'En Yahav settlement. In both cases there were holes in the ground (2–8 cm wide). Two tunnels hosted living adults, one close to the opening and another observed at the depth of about 20 cm. Two males were found on tree logs (one was climbing and the second one rested inside a large hole with only its head protruding). Two males and a female were hiding under an air conditioner before they left for activity at dusk. Two more males were seen walking on the ground. One female was found during daytime resting on a dead log (under a cover). One female and two males were seen resting on a tree trunk in the shade during the day. This was the only case, when adults were seen completely exposed during daytime. The previously known host plants for Anthracocentrus arabicus are Acacia spp., Tamarix articulata Wahl, T. aphylla (L.) (Sama et al. 2010), Prosopis cineraria (Rejzek et al. 2005), Acacia radiana, Acacia scorpioides and Senegalia senegal (Eldow 2011). The tree species that served as a host in 'En Yahav was in no doubt Tipuana tipu of the family Fabaceae. This tree originates from South America and is planted regularly in many settlements in Israel, also along the Arava Valley. The two trees that were cut down had many emergence holes around them. Additional two cut down trees were found, both with emergence holes around them.