Subject: Fig beetle or Green June Beetle!
Geographic location of the bug: Fresno, CA
Time: 01:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hello,
My husband and I are at odds about this bug. He (the bug) was a pretty friendly guy who flew into several patrons hair at our local bar. Can you tell us what he is? We spotted him approximately mid-July.
How you want your letter signed: Megan
Common names for the same insect can vary from location to location, and that gets even more complicated because insects do not respect international borders, with or without walls, and many times the national language changes across the border. To make things even more complicated, sometimes the same common name is used to describe more than one insect. That is why the scientific community uses the universal binomial system to identify creatures, but even that gets complicated because sometimes more than one scientific name is used to describe the same insect, but eventually one of those names supersedes the other. What’s That Bug? has always considered itself a pop culture insect site, so we frequently use common names in an effort to make us more friendly to the web browsing public which might find more scientific (and more reputable) sites off-putting because they are so scientific. The genus Cotinis is called, according to BugGuide, the Green June Beetles, so any member of the genus can be called by that common name. A common species found from Texas east, Cotinis nitida, is commonly called a Fig-Eater or Green June Beetle, according to BugGuide, and a common western species, that is found in California, is Cotinis mutabilis, and according to BugGuide, it is commonly called the Green Fig Beetle, the Green Fruit Beetle or the Figeater Beetle. Your species is the latter, so you may use any of the common names that specifically apply to the species, or the more general name Green June Beetle that applies to the entire genus. That is a very long-winded explanation that distills down to the answer that both names are correct for your species, though here at What’s That Bug?, we like to use Figeater for the western species, so you both are correct.