Subject: Harlequin Flower Beetle
June 30, 2013 12:15 am
A couple of weeks ago I submitted this 1.25” beetle from coastal Texas near Houston. It fell down from the chimney into our fireplace, landing on its back. It couldn’t flip over, and made a very loud buzzing sound as it tried. The attached picture was taken outside after the beetle was released.
While my picture (understandably) didn’t get a response, I think I’ve been able to identify the beetle myself. My problem is that I was looking for black and green beetles—and the beetle I saw was even greener than it appears in the picture—but more commonly these are yellow. Helpfully, Bug Guide indicated that a triangular thorax generally means a flower chafer beetle, and from there it wasn’t hard to find the species. This one seems to me to be a harlequin flower beetle, of which there are five examples on whatsthatbug.com, all from central Florida and Houston. (Interestingly, the other green one also came from Houston—perhaps a subspecies difference?)
Signature: Lachlan McDavid
First, your original submission was not purposely ignored. Especially in the summer, we receive much more small fraction of the mail that we receive that is answered and posted is mostly a matter of luck. We do scan for interesting subject lines, and your specific subject line today caught our attention. “Bug” as a subject line does not normally attract our attention. We are also responding to more letters today because we didn’t have time for anything yesterday. Also, we were away from the office not responding to any mail for much of the first half of June.
We agree that this is a Harlequin Flower Beetle, Gymnetis caseyi. As far as coloration goes, there is always some variation, and the Harlequin Flower Beetle seems to have much individual variation with markings and coloration. Also, photographs can result in less than accurate color rendition under different lighting conditions.