Metallic green beetle from Australia
January 30, 2010
I was photographing birds in a flowering tree this week and I noticed 2 of these pretty beetles. When I got too close to one, it flew off and hovered near by and settled on another flower bunch. I live in a rainforest area of tropical far north Queensland and it is our summer / rainy season. I would appreciate any help in identifying it. I didn’t realize there were so many pretty bugs out there! Thanks in advance.
Lake Eacham, Far North Queensland, Australia
We did a really quick web search and we were unable to identify the species of Green Metallic Scarab you have found. We believe it is in the subfamily Cetoniinae, the Fruit and Flower Chafers. It is possible that it is not native to Australia, because it is so distinctive, we thought species identification would be easy. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide us with additional information.
Karl supplies some possible identifications
Hi Daniel and Jenny:
I am also a little perplexed that such a distinctive beetle should be so hard to identify. I was able to find several images of very similar Australian beetles on the web but most of them were either unidentified or labeled as Christmas beetles. I assume the latter were either misnamed, or that common name applies to other beetles besides the true Christmas beetles in the genus Anoplognathus. I think this beetle may be a flower chafer in the Tribe Schizorhinini (Cetoniinae), probably in one of three genera (although there could be others): Ischiopsopha, Lomaptera or Mycterophallus. The closest matches I could find were Mycterophallus duboulayi and Lomaptera duboulayi (these are likely the same species as there is considerable confusion and synonymy among all three of these genera). It could also be a migrant from nearby Papua New Guinea, where the Schizorhinini are diverse and abundant. The Papua Insects Foundation has posted many spectacular photos of Schizorhinini from the Indonesian side of the island. Eons ago I had the good fortune of spending several years in PNG and I recall seeing thousands of very similar looking beetles, albeit dismembered and stitched into beautiful pieces of body ornamentation, particularly headbands. Regards.