Goldsmith Beetle: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell

The Goldsmith Beetle, scientifically known as Cotalpa lanigera, is a stunning insect highly regarded for its beauty. Belonging to the family Rutilidae, also known as golden-gleaming ones, these beetles are truly a sight to behold with their gleaming exterior and unique characteristics.

Native to North America, Goldsmith Beetles can often be found in areas with an abundance of vegetation. These short-lived insects typically lay their eggs in the ground during June, making it the last time they’re usually spotted for the year.

Goldsmith Beetle Identification

Physical Characteristics

The Goldsmith Beetle, also known as Cotalpa lanigera, is a member of the Scarabaeidae family and has a unique appearance. Key physical traits of this beetle include:

  • Size: They are relatively large, with a length of around 1 inch1
  • Shape: This beetle has an oval-shaped body with a rounded thorax and head
  • Legs: It possesses six legs which are useful for crawling on surfaces2

Metallic Sheen and Color

The Goldsmith Beetle is also known for its striking, metallic appearance3 and the colors that help distinguish it from other beetles:

  • Yellow: The body of the Goldsmith Beetle is primarily a bright yellow hue
  • Green: Some specimens exhibit a slight greenish tint depending on the lighting4
  • Brown: On rare occasions, Goldsmith Beetles appear brownish due to natural pigment variations

One of its distinctive features that makes it easy to identify this beetle is its resemblance to the shining leaf chafer5. Both these beetles have a shiny, round, metallic appearance. However, there are differences in their colors.

Feature Goldsmith Beetle Shining Leaf Chafer
Primary Color Yellow (with a possible greenish or brownish tint) Green (with a possible bronze or reddish sheen)
Shape Oval-shaped body with a rounded thorax and head Similar body shape, but slightly smaller and more elongated
Metallic Sheen Both have a metallic sheen that makes their colors appear shiny and iridescent

In summary, the Goldsmith Beetle can be identified by its distinct physical characteristics and its unique metallic sheen and color. Keep these features in mind when trying to spot this fascinating beetle in the wild.

Habitat and Distribution

North America Range

The Goldsmith Beetle (Cotalpa lanigera) can be found in the eastern and central parts of the United States, as well as southeastern Canada1. Some examples of regions where they can be found include:

  • Eastern United States
  • Central United States
  • Southeastern Canada

Woodlands and Deciduous Forests

Goldsmith Beetles prefer to inhabit woodlands and deciduous forests, particularly around trees such as willow, poplar, cottonwood, and oak2. Their preference for specific tree types is summarized in the table below:

Preferred Trees Examples
Willow Black Willow, Weeping Willow
Poplar Eastern Cottonwood, Quaking Aspen
Cottonwood Fremont Cottonwood, Swamp Cottonwood
Oak White Oak, Red Oak

These beetles play a role in maintaining the health of these ecosystems, making them an important part of the woodland and deciduous forest habitats.

Life Cycle and Reproduction

Female Scattering Eggs

Goldsmith Beetles, belonging to the family Scarabaeidae, reproduce when the female beetle scatters her eggs in and around an appropriate environment. A female lays anywhere from 45 to 285 eggs per year, ensuring the continuation of their species.

Larvae Burrowing

Once hatched, the larvae of the Goldsmith Beetle begin their life cycle by burrowing into the ground. They typically
prefer land under present tillage and feed on the roots of plants, as they grow and develop.

Features of Goldsmith Beetle larvae:

  • White or tan in color
  • Feed on plant roots
  • Burrow in the ground during development

Pupation and Earthen Cells

As the larvae reach maturity, they go through a pupation process, forming earthen cells to protect themselves during metamorphosis. The beetle remains in this stage for around 7 to 10 days before emerging as an adult Goldsmith Beetle, ready to mate and restart the cycle.

Pros and cons of Goldsmith Beetle’s reproduction method:

Pros:

  • Short life cycle, ensuring rapid growth in population
  • High number of eggs laid by females increases the chances of offspring survival

Cons:

  • Burrowing larvae can cause damage to plant roots
  • Larvae’s feeding habits might make them a pest in agricultural settings

Comparison of Goldsmith Beetle’s life cycle with typical insects:

Stage Goldsmith Beetles Typical Insects
Egg Laid by female Laid by female
Larval Burrow in soil Various habitats
Pupation Earthen cells Cocoon or chrysalis
Adult Mating and egg-laying Mating and egg-laying

In summary, Goldsmith Beetles have a unique life cycle and reproduction process that involves female scattering of eggs, larvae burrowing, and pupation in earthen cells. These life stages are essential for the continued existence of this beautiful beetle.

Diet and Food Sources

Leaves and Woody Material

The primary food source for Goldsmith Beetles is leaves, and they have a preference for certain types of foliage. One such example is hickory leaves, which provide essential nutrients for their growth and well-being.

Rotting Logs

Another essential food source for these beetles is rotting logs. Goldsmith Beetles are commonly found in these habitats, as they provide an ideal environment for their feeding and reproduction.

Key Features

  • Primarily feed on leaves
  • Prefer hickory leaves
  • Utilize rotting logs

Comparison Table

Habitat Type of Food Source Preferred by Goldsmith Beetles
Woody Material Leaves Yes
Rotting Logs Decomposing wood Yes

Goldsmith Beetles rely on a variety of plant-based food sources, ensuring they receive the necessary nutrients from their environment. Short sentences and paragraphs, as well as formatting options like bullet points and tables, have been utilized to make this text easy to read and understand.

Goldsmith Beetle in Popular Culture

Gold Bug

The Goldsmith Beetle, known as Cotalpa lanigera, holds a significant place in popular culture, particularly in literature. One of its most notable appearances is in Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, “The Gold-Bug.” This story revolves around a gold-colored beetle that leads the protagonist to discover a hidden treasure.

Some possible literary influences related to the Goldsmith Beetle are:

  • Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Gold-Bug”: The gold-colored beetle is at the center of the plot, symbolizing mystery and adventure.
  • Samuel Lockwood’s description: The Reverend Samuel Lockwood described the Goldsmith Beetle as one of the most beautiful beetles in North America, emphasizing its golden appearance and belonging to the “golden-gleaming” family Rutilidae.

The Goldsmith Beetle’s remarkable appearance has been a source of inspiration in literature, due to its striking golden hue and intriguing behavior.

Key Features of the Goldsmith Beetle:

  • Brilliant metallic golden color
  • Short-lived, mainly seen in June
  • May lay eggs in the ground during June

Characteristics of the Goldsmith Beetle:

  • Belongs to the Rutilidae family
  • Known for its beauty and golden-gleaming appearance

While the Goldsmith Beetle isn’t widely present in popular culture, its appearance in Poe’s iconic work solidifies its connection to literary history and highlights its unique allure in storytelling.

Additional Information

Caution against Pests

The Goldsmith Beetle (Cotalpa lanigera) belongs to the subfamily Rutelinae within the Coleoptera order. While these beetles are not generally known to be harmful pests, it’s crucial to monitor their population. Keeping their numbers in check is essential to prevent potential damage to crops and plants.

Images and Resources

If you’re looking for images and resources to learn more about Goldsmith Beetles, BugGuide provides an extensive collection, including photographs, range distribution, and information on the genus. Additionally:

  • Goldsmith Beetles have a distinct copper color on their head and pronotum, making them easily identifiable.
  • Their range is primarily in the eastern and central parts of North America.

To better understand the differences between Goldsmith Beetles and similar beetles, consider this comparison table:

Feature Goldsmith Beetle Grapevine Beetle May/June Beetle
Size Medium Large Large
Color Copper/golden Yellow with black spots Brown
Range Eastern and central North America Eastern North America Worldwide
Hooks Present Absent Absent

Among their fascinating characteristics, Goldsmith Beetles have:

  • Hooks on their legs, which aid in climbing
  • Short life span
  • Attraction to areas with present tillage

By exploring various resources, you’ll be able to learn more about this amazing beetle and its unique features. Don’t hesitate to dive deeper into the genus to discover fascinating facts about the Goldsmith Beetle and the greater Coleoptera family.

Footnotes

  1. Goldsmith Beetle – Field Station 2

  2. The Goldsmith Beetle and Its Habits – The University of Chicago Press 2

  3. Goldsmith Beetle – Field Station

  4. The Goldsmith Beetle and Its Habits – The University of Chicago Press

  5. Goldenrod Soldier Beetle, Chauliognathus pensylvanicus

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Big Yellow Beetle (Specifics Needed)
Sun, May 24, 2009 at 3:02 PM
Dear What’s That Bug,
My family was enjoying a walk through town recently when the youngest of us stumbled across this bumbling bug. Physiologically this looks like a typical Junebug, but the extraordinary colors seem to say different. Is this a special type of Junebug, or just a rare color morph?
Backyard Entomologist
Central Massachusetts, Suburban

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Backyard Entomologist,
The Goldsmith Beetle, Cotalpa lanigera, is also known as a Gold bug, and according to BugGuide “This was supposedly Poe’s Gold-bug , according to the account at Clemson .” BugGuide also indicates: “Adults feed on willow, poplar foliage” and “Female scatters eggs on soil near a tree. Larvae burrow to reach their food source, rotting logs and roots. They pupate at the end of one or two years in earthen cells.” BugGuide also states “This beetle is usually listed as uncommon.” This is a very exciting posting for us, both because of the rarity of the Goldsmith Beetle, and because of the Poe reference for the Gold Bug.

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Letter 2 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Yellow beetle
May 30, 2010
Hoping you can help me identify this bug.
Nathan
half hour north of the Twin Cities

Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Nathan,
We believe the Goldsmith Beetle, Cotalpa lanigera, may the loveliest North American beetle.  As a family, we love the Blister Beetles, and the Stag Beetle is quite noble, but for shear beauty, we believe the Goldsmith Beetle takes the cake.  There is much speculation that the Goldsmith Beetle is the Gold Bug of Edgar Allen Poe fame.  You may read more about the Goldsmith Beetle on BugGuide.

Goldsmith Beetle

Letter 3 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject:  Yet another Goldsmith “Bug” !
Geographic location of the bug:  Gloucester, Va
Date: 04/26/2019
Time: 03:38 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I wrote you back in 2015 when I found my 1st Goldsmith beetle. I have since found at least 1 or 2 each year in the same location… My garage!  Of course they are always moved to safety in the backyard, just as this one that I found today has been.  Just thought I’d share another picture of this glorious find!
How you want your letter signed:  Holly G

Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Holly G,
How wonderful to hear about your yearly Goldsmith Beetle sightings, though we have not been able to locate your 2015 request in our archives.  Because of your “catch and release” policy, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

Goldsmith Beetle

Wonderful! Thank you so much!!

Letter 4 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject: Goldsmith
Location: Maine
May 28, 2016 3:19 am
I found this bug that I believe to be a goldsmith bug on my screen. It stayed there quite a while so I pulled it off. It appeared to be dead. When I was taking pictures of it, I thought I may have seen his legs move some. Do these bugs typically not move much or do you think this bug is dead or dying? Can you identify some of the parts? Does it bite or pinch at all?
Thanks
Gs
Ps: coincidentally last nights jeopardy final was re Poe’s The Gold Bug.
Signature: Gs

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Gs,
How interesting that this sighting of a Goldsmith Beetle coincided with the Jeopardy final regarding Poe’s classic The Gold Bug which was allegedly based on a Goldsmith Beetle.  It is difficult to speculate on the cause of your individual’s inactivity.  Temperature may have been a factor.  We suspect you found this Goldsmith Beetle on your screen because it was attracted to light.  According to BugGuide:  “Occasionally attracted to lights.”  It is also possible that this individual was nearing the end of its life, hence its lethargy, and we would not rule out that its life may have ended because of exposure to toxins or poisons.  Normally, Scarab Beetles are not as active as Ground Beetles, but the behavior you describe does not sound like the behavior we would expect from a healthy Goldsmith Beetle.  It is possible that a person handling a Goldsmith Beetle may experience a slight pinch because of the spiny features on the legs.

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Letter 5 – Bug of the Month June 2021: Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject:  Goldsmith Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Zimmerman, MN North America USA
Date: 06/01/2021
Time: 01:00 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello, this is the second time I’ve encountered what I believe to be a goldsmith Beetle. Coolest bug ever. The first time was in the backyard a couple of years ago. The second time, was tonight, waiting for me at the front door. I brought it in to show my mother, she was not a fan. I put it back outside to carry on.
How you want your letter signed:  S. Botzet

Goldsmith Beetle

Dear S. Botzet,
Thanks so much for sending in your awesome images of a Goldsmith Beetle, the beetle allegedly the fictional Gold Bug of Edgar Allen Poe fame.  Your timing is perfect for us to select your letter as the Bug of the Month for June 2021.  The Goldsmith Beetle is described on BugGuide as “A large yellow/green scarab with no elytral markings. Elytra has irregular rows of punctures.”

Goldsmith Beetle

Letter 6 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Green Iridescent Goldsmith Beetle?
Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 10:14 AM
We were at a friend’s home in Sauk Rapids, Mn, and our daughters found this shimmering iridescent green beetle. Her daughters found this link, and thought it might be that. Only in a picture that doesn’t show it’s iridescence, did I think it might be a version of this one, but when we saw it in person, it didn’t look gold at all…just the “bejeweled” green! As if it was imbedded with crystals.
The girls names are Madison and Shaelynn Waseka-(Mom is Marla), and Kristina Anderson.
I happened to be there to take pictures of her home/property, so we got the bug too! 🙂
Photographer: Kathy Anderson
Property owner: Marla Waseka-Contact: Design Firm-Graceful Spaces
Later that day, she went to another friend’s house, who had just found a “Goldsmith Beetle” that day, and saved it since she found it dead. How ironic is that?
So it looks like this one is “family” to the Goldsmith-but is there another name for it, because of the green?
Kathy Anderson/Marla Waseka
Sauk Rapids, Mn

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Hi Kathy and Marla,
We believe your ID of the Goldsmith Beetle, Cotalpa lanigera, is correct.  According to BugGuide, the coloration of the Goldsmith Beetle is .  Even more interesting, the greenest example posted to BugGuide was from St. Paul, Dakota County Minnesota.  We actually think your individual is one of the loveliest examples of a Goldsmith Beetle we have seen.

Letter 7 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Grapevine beetle?
October 9, 2009
This beauty was clinging to our screen door early one morning last June. I have been trying to identify, and Grapevine beetle seems a possibility (we have 17 acres of grapes), but there aren’t noticeable spots. What else could it be?
Charlee
4 miles east of Lawrence, KS

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Hi Charlee,
Your guess that this is a Grapevine Beetle is well founded, though incorrect.  This is a Goldsmith Beetle, Cotalpa lanigera, which is in the same tribe, Rutelini, as the Grapevine Beetle, Pelidnota punctata
.  You can see additional images and read more about the Goldsmith Beetle on BugGuide.  Our favorite bit of trivia about the Goldsmith Beetle, is that it is believed to be the Gold Bug in the famous Edgar Allen Poe story.

Thanks so much for the info! We have lots of unusual (for this area) bugs, birds, and varmints visiting our farm, and I was having trouble trying to identify this beetle. It certainly was beautiful– the same morning I photographed this guy, I also got great shots of a pair of Io moths. Living in the country certainly has its perks!
Thanks again,
Charlee
Charlee Glinka Davenport Orchards/Vineyards/Winery

Letter 8 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject: Goldsmith Beetle
Location: Shoreview, MN
June 16, 2013 4:07 pm
My 6 year old daughter found this beetle on 6/16/13 in Shoreview, MN (a suburb north of St Paul, MN). Based on the pictures, it looks just like the Goldsmith Beetle.
Signature: Maggie Setley

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Maggie,
This is a Goldsmith Beetle, described on BugGuide as being:  “A large yellow/green scarab with no elytral markings. Elytra has irregular rows of punctures.”  This is one of the insects that is suspected of being the inspiration for Edgar Allen Poe’s
“The Gold Bug” which is one of his less macabre stories.  We would highly suggest that you read it aloud to your daughter to cement the memory of the day she found the Gold Bug, a common name suggested on BugGuide.

Letter 9 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject: Beach Beetle
Location: Plum Island, Massachusetts
June 13, 2016 1:17 pm
Dear Bugman,
We were on a class field trip to the beach and came across this golden guy. Any idea what he (or she) is?
Signature: Curious kids from AMS

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Curious kids from AMS,
Our response is delayed as we were away from the office when you submitted your request.  This is a Goldsmith Beetle,
Cotalpa lanigera, and it appears to have experienced some trauma.  According to BugGuide:  “Adults feed on foliage of oak, poplar, hickory, pear, maple, cottonwood, willow and sweetgum.”   As you are in Massachusetts, you may be interested in knowing that this is allegedly the insect that inspired Edgar Allen Poe’s classic short story “The Gold Bug.”

Letter 10 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject: North Dakotan Beetle
Location: Theodor Roosevelt National Park
June 26, 2016 8:36 am
A beetle stumbled upon my campsite in June. It was night and attracted to my lantern. I was located by Medora, in the badlands of North Dakota.
Just curious on what it may be. My thoughts are Grapevine Hoplia?
Signature: Dan

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Dan,
This beautiful beetle is a Goldsmith Beetle,
Cotalpa lanigera.

Oh that is amazing! Thank you for the reply. Your awesome.

Letter 11 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject: Goldsmith Beetle
Location: Ogunquit, Maine
June 9, 2017 8:13 pm
Beautiful Goldsmith Beetle tonight, feel feee to post of you’d like!
Signature: Jen

Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Jen,
Your request was sent on the first day of our much needed holiday, and we just returned to the office Tuesday, so we are embarking upon the impossible task of responding to requests that arrived in our absence and posting the most interesting submissions.  Your Goldsmith Beetle image is gorgeous, and warrants featuring on our scrolling feature bar for a spell.

Awww, thanks! 🙂

Letter 12 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject: Goldsmith Beetle
Location: Western Nebraska I-80
June 24, 2017 9:49 am
We found this beetle in Nebraska and I knew it was something special.
Signature: Candy

Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Candy,
Your image of this beautiful Goldsmith Beetle is a welcome addition to our archives.

Letter 13 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject:  Goldsmith Beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  MS
Date: 04/03/2018
Time: 07:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I took a picture of this beetle crawling around under the security light. Is this a goldsmith beetle? It was grey and furry underneath. I moved it away from the light source.
How you want your letter signed:  TF

Goldsmith Beetle

Dear TF,
We concur that this is a Goldsmith Beetle,
Cotalpa lanigera, and according to BugGuide data, other sightings from Mississippi have occurred in April.

Letter 14 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject:  Unknown Bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Eastern Iowa
Date: 05/31/2018
Time: 10:48 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I was wondering if you could help me identify this beetle? It flew while making a loud buzzing noise and appeared mostly white in color. Thank you!
How you want your letter signed:  No preference

Goldsmith Beetle

Though lighter in color than most individuals, we believe this is a Goldsmith Beetle.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.  We will be postdating your submission to go live to our site during the middle of June when our editorial staff is away from the office on holiday.

Letter 15 – Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject:  Goldsmith Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Missaukee County, Michigan (town of Fife Lake)
Your letter to the bugman:  Found deceased at my mom’s house. Super pearly Goldsmith Beetle! I hope you enjoy the photos. Ali Bridson
How you want your letter signed:  Ali

Goldsmith Beetle

Dear Ali,
Thanks for sending us your excellent images of a deceased Goldsmith Beetle you found at your mother’s house.  The ventral view is not a common view in online documentation.

Goldsmith Beetle

Letter 16 – Goldsmith Beetle: Edgar Allen Poe's Gold Bug!!!

 

GOLDEN BEETLE
We just found a beetle on our front porch in Flowood, MS that looks a good bit like the Cotalpa Consobrina in your entry of 6-9-04 from Diana Isham, Grantsburg Wisconsin. I’ve included a picture of ours–sorry for the blurriness. Are we correct?
Gordon

Hi Gordon,
In our opinion, you have the correct genus but the wrong species. Cotalpa consobrina is native to Arizona. The eastern species is the Goldsmith Beetle, Cotalpa lanigera. Literary historians are relatively certain this is the beetle imortalized in Edgar Allen Poe’s short story, The Gold Bug.

Letter 17 – Goldsmith Beetle found in Western Canada

 

Subject: GoldSmith beetle
Location: Central sask/Alberta
July 14, 2015 8:29 pm
My son B. Kolke sent me this photo he took today of a beetle, and he wondered what it was.
As I have had so much information and ID luck from this site, I came to look for it here. It was easy to find an ID but I thought that the bug itself was way out of it’s known range.
My son took this photo on the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan
Signature: T Kolke

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle

Dear T Kolke,
We agree with both your identification and your assessment that this Goldsmith Beetle,
Cotalpa lanigera, is out of its reported range, at least based on BugGuide sightings, though Goldsmith Beetles have been reported from Ontario, Canada as well as North Dakota.  The Generic Guide to New World Scarab Beetles states:  “Cotalpa occurs from Maine to the Carolinas west to Louisiana and Texas, south to Sonora, Mexico and north to Saskatchewan, Canada (Saylor 1940; Young 2002).”  Nature Serve also lists a Saskatchewan sighting.  So, while this sighting is unusual, it is not unique.  Additionally, BugGuide states:  “Usually listed as uncommon” so any sighting where ever it occurs is noteworthy. 

Wow that was a speedy response!  Thanks so much for that info!  We were so amazed to see something like that  never having seen one in our lives before. Cool and thanks for the links!
T Kolke

Letter 18 – Request for information on the Goldsmith Beetle

 

Subject: goldsmith beetle
Location: i dont know i got pic from google images
February 16, 2013 6:38 pm
dear bug man this is a goldsmith beetle and i don’t know anything about it but i want to can you tell me about it
Signature: bluebeetle

Ed. Note February 17, 2013:  The following email arrived less than 24 hours after the initial submission.
oh my god i sent 3 requests and you dont do anthing and it makes me sad because its my favorite web site

Goldsmith Beetle
Goldsmith Beetle (image from our archives)

Dear Bluebeetle,
While we admire your enthusiasm, we cannot post images that were not taken by the person submitting the image, or at least without the permission of the photographer.  Additionally, our tiny staff is unable to respond to every request we receive, and since we generally do most of our posting in the mornings, waiting 24 hours is not unusual.  You keep submitting requests with images taken from the internet, which is why we have been unable to post your requests.  You can use our search engine to research information on species we have already written about.  Here is a link to a previous posting on our site of the Goldsmith Beetle.  One of the three images of Goldsmith Beetles you attached is an image from our archives, though the file you grabbed from the internet is not the same file we posted, which indicates that either the original photographer posted it elsewhere, or internet pirates have pilfered it from us and renamed as well as resized the file.  “Images of friends” is not the name we used for the included image.

ooohhh  so i will take pictures instead how post’em though

Just submit the image using the form like you submitted this entry.  We control all the postings to our site individually so we can choose and closely monitor the content on What’s That Bug?

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

    View all posts
  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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48 thoughts on “Goldsmith Beetle: All You Need to Know in a Nutshell”

  1. The entomologist at our cooperative extension service referred me to you website after I sent him a detailed description of a beetle I found. I clicked on the link he sent me, and there was a beautiful picture of “my” beetle! I found mine one night last week on the doorstep of a convenience store in South Paris, Maine, where I suspect it had been attracted by the lights. My first guess was that it was a scarab beetle, and except for the striking color, it looked to me for all the world like the Pelidnota punctata or grape leaf beetle, which I remember my sister discovering years ago. (It sat in a display case in our house along with other natural wonders for years, and so got etched in my memory.) Turns out I wasn’t far off! Now that I know it is uncommon and not likely to be a major threat, I will feel free to let it go. Thank you so much for your helpful website – I will keep it in mind the next time I need to identify an unfamiliar creepy-crawly!

    Reply
  2. I found this beetle, it was stuck on the ground in my grate walk way in Farmington, Maine. It fascinated me, so I picked it up and put it in a jar. Its a feisty “little” thing. So glad I found out what it was. and it didnt fly into my house. My mom hates June bugs themselfs , I can only imagine what she would do if this flew in to the house. LOL

    Reply
  3. My 6 year old daughter just found this beetle today, 6/16/13 in Shoreview, MN (a suburb north of St Paul). Wondering where I can send the photo. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Maggie,
      We are so happy you discovered on your own, while we were out taking photographs, how to submit your photograph. We have received it and we will be working on the posting shortly.

      Reply
  4. 6-19-2013 Found Goldsmith beetle in our prairie near Wabasha, MN

    /Users/rob/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Originals/2013/Goldsmith Beetle/DSC02349.JPG

    Reply
  5. 6-19-2013 Found Goldsmith beetle in our prairie near Wabasha, MN

    /Users/rob/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Originals/2013/Goldsmith Beetle/DSC02349.JPG

    Reply
  6. I get like 2-4 of these a year on my viney vine (not even sure what kind of vine…grows on a wire fence..could be a grape vine) normally I am plucking off the Japanese Beatles into bucket of soapy water so I always seem to get a few of these as well.l

    Reply
  7. Went outside this evening (3/31/15) and saw hundreds of these same beetles swarming around our blooming dogwood tree and all around large wooden fence posts in our front yard…we are in East Texas. Regular June bugs are common here but have never seen these gold ones before.

    Reply
  8. so glad I stumbled upon your website! I discovered one of these lovely creatures in my garage today(May 5,2015- Gloucester, Virginia.) It was so beautiful I actually *gasped* when I first saw it. I’m a certified “nature nut” & in in my 40 something years I’ve never seen one of these before. absolutely gorgeous. thanks for the information! wish I could send a picture but I’m not sure how to link it…

    Reply
  9. Luckily I was looking down at a strip mall sidewalk in St. Croix Falls, WI and spotted this incredibly beautiful beetle. It was dead so I picked it up for my 6 yr. old grandson. He’ll love it.

    Reply
  10. Seen in front of my garage in Cambridge, Mn. Moved the little one next to the plants in the yard. Beautiful beetle. I took a picture but I do not know how to upload it on here.

    Reply
  11. Spotted one in Spooner, WI on 7/9 while at a garage sale. Its metallic gold head (?) showed when it flew. Absolutely gorgeous.

    Reply
  12. A goldsmith beetle came to visit in my apartment last night. I released it this morning and it’s enjoying the shade in a potted plant outside my window.

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  13. This solved a mystery for me. I was coming in from outside and saw one of those guys on my back door. Sadly he was gone when I went back out with my phone. Reading that I’m even sadder, a picture of Poe’s gold bug would have been awesome considering I live in Baltimore City

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  14. I found this amazing beetle stuck between the boards of the deck at my cottage. He was struggling to be free so i wedged him out with a stick. I didn’t know if he would bite or not so I put him in a bug cage and let him go know and then, following him for short periods of time to see what he would do, but he never really ate anything. A few days later I let him go and saw him come and visit now and then.

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  15. OMG I saved one of these guys from a giant pile of soap suds at the local car wash he buzzed himself into, for a soft landing I suspect. This was 28 November 2016.
    He was pretty slow moving after I rinsed him off from his soapy encounter & I hope the soap didn’t poison him. I’ve not seen one of these bugs in my area before & was very excited to! Part of me wishes I brought him home to make sure he was ok, but I thought the best thing to do was move him to a safe area to dry off & leave him in the wild.

    I am in the south eastern bayside suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. I’ve noticed you say he’s a rare species in USA too.

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  16. OMG I saved one of these guys from a giant pile of soap suds at the local car wash he buzzed himself into, for a soft landing I suspect. This was 28 November 2016.
    He was pretty slow moving after I rinsed him off from his soapy encounter & I hope the soap didn’t poison him. I’ve not seen one of these bugs in my area before & was very excited to! Part of me wishes I brought him home to make sure he was ok, but I thought the best thing to do was move him to a safe area to dry off & leave him in the wild.

    I am in the south eastern bayside suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. I’ve noticed you say he’s a rare species in USA too.

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    • Goldsmith Beetles are a North American species and we suspect you most likely encountered a Christmas Beetle in the genus Anoplognathus, possibly the King Christmas Beetle or Giant Christmas Beetle, Anoplognathus viridiaeneus, which is pictured on the Australian National Botanic Gardens site where it states: “This is probably the largest of that section of our insects known as Christmas Beetles. It is common in the bushland around Sydney and the north coast of New South Wales. Essentially a summer insect, it appears on the foliage of eucalyptus trees; where one is found you can be certain there will be others on the same tree.” We are very amused at the (now closed) competition held by the Australian Museum to give common names to nine species formerly known by only scientific names. According to the site: “These beautiful bugs are Aussie icons, heralding the coming of summer and Christmas. You might know the three kinds of Christmas Beetle in New South Wales that have common names: the King Beetle, Queen Beetle and the Washerwoman! But the other nine of the 12 species are known only by their Latin scientific names. So, the Australian Museum has run a competition for NSW residents to give common names to the nine nameless festive beetles. … Common names – unlike the Latin names used by scientists to identify species – are part of the everyday lexicon, so whatever is chosen will exist for generations to come.” On a sadder note, the Australian Museum also has a posting entitled “Where Have All The Christmas Beetles Gone?” where it states: “The evidence suggesting a decline is anecdotal yet compelling. In the 1920s, they were reported to drown in huge numbers in Sydney Harbour, with tree branches bending into the water under the sheer weight of the massed beetles. You won’t see that these days, and I’ve never seen a Christmas beetle come to light where I work, next to Hyde Park. While public concerns suggest that numbers are also much smaller in the suburbs, I’ve found at least five species near my home, clustered around street lights at the southern edge of Royal National Park, 55 kilometres south of Sydney.”

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  17. Dear BUGMAN,
    Thank you SOOO much for your reply! The picture attached to the description of the Giant Christmas Beetle on the Australian National Botanic Gardens link is very similar to the photo I took of the one I saw. Although theirs is only an illustration, the resemblance is strikingly similar.

    I was under the impression that maybe somehow some of your amazing beetles had migrated during importing goods of some kind, but maybe that is not so. I don’t see many of these beetles I was asking about, but being mainly in NSW it makes sense now. We’ve been having very similar weather & climates our 2 states the last few years during summer, so it makes sense for them to migrate south a few hundred km or just spread out their habitat – with more & more houses going up many species are in need of new habitats.

    If I could attach a picture here for you I would, but there’s no option for that in replies & you’ve likely already seen other peoples photos of these gorgeous insects.

    I’ve only just recently stumbled across your page & I would like to say an enormous THANK YOU for your dedication & the quality of your content. The links I have followed from you have led me to some wonderful bug pages & I’m already finding more & more bugs I want to identify & know about!! I found a new spices of wasp I had not seen before, but I’m having trouble identifying it accurately as the one I photo’d doesn’t look completely like the ones pictured in the descriptions I search for… In time I will find it though.

    THANK YOU for being awesome!!
    Also thank you for your time.
    Kindest regards manda.

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  18. Dear BUGMAN,

    OK 😀 awesome will do 🙂

    Thank you again for being so dedicated, the bug world is amazing!

    Have a GREAT day (& a wonderful weekend!)
    Kindest regards manda.

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  19. Found a lovely large beetle on our way through Nebraska. It wasn’t completely dead, as it stretched its legs when I petted its back. It has a fuzzy underside and an iridescent head. I gave it to a bug enthusiast, who was thrilled ! I will post my photo.

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  20. We noticed a large beetle on the screen of our front window, and thought it was a June bug, but it was such an unusual color, that we had to look it up. So glad we did! We live in Jefferson, GA and while we seem to have many different kinds of bugs in Georgia, it is fun to see one that isn’t so common!

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  21. HI FROM ONTARIO CANADA… I live in Wasaga Beach Ontario. I was having coffee on my back porch this morning and saw a huge yellow Beetle attached to the wooden railing inside the screened area of the porch.. Being trapped inside the screen I captured it (and it gave me a hard time getting it into the jar. I googled it as I have never seen one like this before and released it outside near a tree shortly after.

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  22. Hallo , thank you for all the info . Today my 6 years old found this beautiful gold beetle in BEAUFORT SC unfortunately was death and dry.
    We saw many dark greenish blue ones with a horn but this one was special.

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  23. Hallo , thank you for all the info . Today my 6 years old found this beautiful gold beetle in BEAUFORT SC unfortunately was death and dry.
    We saw many dark greenish blue ones with a horn but this one was special.

    Reply
  24. My 9 year old found one of these on the beach in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan. It was dead and dry and unlike anything we’d seen before. Thanks for helping us learn about it!

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  25. I just found one outside work, in Zachary Louisiana March 20th 2020. Never seen one before. Quick Search for gold beetle Bang there it is.

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