Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer from Panama

Colorfull Cockroach
Location:  Panama Central America – Summer
September 30, 2010 4:52 pm
Well, I was amazed about this type of cockroach so, I would like to know if it is a cockroach or what because I know you guys will be also interested about checking out this type of bug.
Thanks please answer fast 🙂
Maybe is a new kind of cockroach not discovered yet.
Signature:  Colorfull Cockroach

Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer Beetle

Dear Patrick,
This is not a Cockroach.  It is a Jewel Beetle or Metallic Borer Beetle in the family Buprestidae.  We will try to research the species tomorrow morning.

Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer Beetle

October 1, 2010 at 5:30 AM
After a good night’s sleep, we quickly located a visual match to your Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer,
Euchroma gigantea, on the God of Insects website which has this wealth of information:  “Euchroma gigantea is the largest of the Jewel Beetles in the New World – and also one of the most attractive. In fact, its Latin namesake translates to ‘colorful giant.’ Newly emerged adults will have a coating of yellow wax dust, which obscures their metallic colors until worn off. This wax is only secreted once and often mistaken for pollen. The larvae are miners of fallen timber (Ceiba pentandra, Bombacopsis spp. and Pseudobombax spp.) and the adults may be found walking around on the logs. This large beetle is a strong flier and is often attracted to freshly cut trees. It’s common name is the Ceiba Borer and in forests where species of trees in the family Bombacaceae (such as Kapok trees) can be found, it is fairly common. The adult beetles, when available, are roasted and eaten by the Tzeltal-Mayans of Chiapas, Mexico. The beautiful elytra are often used in jewelery and the adornment of textiles. The Shaur [sic] (Jivaro) people of the Amazon Jungle use the beetle to make decorative ornaments symbolizing wealth, well being and personal power. They refer to the beetles’ elytra as ‘wauwau.’ Your specimen still has the yellow waxy coating, and images of mounted specimens which abound on the world wide web have that coating removed to better reveal the gorgeous metallic coloration of the Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer.  We did locate a nice website, Beetles in the Bush, which profiles the Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer and has a photo of a newly emerged adult with the waxy coating.  According to Beetles in the Bush, the range of the Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer is “Mexico through Central America, the West Indies, and most of South America.  At a maximum of 65mm in length, it is not only North America’s largest jewel beetle, but also the largest jewel beetle in the entire Western Hemisphere. That source also mentions the edibility thus:  “Indigenous peoples in Central and South America have long utilized the dazzlingly colored elytra of these beetles to create beautiful natural jewelry and adorn their clothes and textiles.  The species is also eaten in both the larval and adult stages – Tzeltal-Mayans in southern Mexico (Chiapas) roast the adults when available, and the Tukanoans (northwestern Amazon) also eat the larvae (Dufour 1987). We will check with our friend Susan Lutz who spent time with the Shuar in Ecuador to see if she can provide any information on how the Ecuadorean head-shrinkers use the elytra of the Giant Metallic Ceiba Borer and also to see if they are on the menu for the Shuar version of Sunday Dinner.

Ed. Note: Read Susan Lutz’s response here.

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