Shining Leaf Chafer from Panama: Macraspis chrysis

Subject:  Jewel Scarab?
Geographic location of the bug:  Panama Canal Zone
Date: 09/24/2017
Time: 10:38 PM EDT
I found this beetle about 4 years ago while doing research in the forests in the Canal Zone of central Panama. It was dead laying along a stream bank, but I picked it up because I thought it looked cool, and have had it ever since. I’ve tried to find out what it is, but have had no luck. Looks like a jewel scarab, but the scutellum is larger than any I’ve seen. It’s an iridescent green, which turns to a red/orange when light reflects in certain ways. Any idea of what this is?
How you want your letter signed:  Andrew

Macraspis chrysis

Dear Andrew,
You are correct that this is a Scarab Beetle.  Perhaps the reason you didn’t have any luck with an identification is that you were searching for Scarab Beetles from Panama.  Nearby Costa Rica has many of the same insects as does Panama, but since there is more eco-tourism in Costa Rica, there tends to be better online databases for identifying the flora and fauna there.  Our first internet clue as to the identity of your Scarab Beetle was this Beetle Bling INBio posting on Jimmy O’Donnell’s Evolutionary Ecology site.  Though the species is not identified, there is an image from the collection of several dozens of what appears to be your beetle with this caption:  “A single specimen of a gold or silver Scarabs is impressive, but an entire drawer of them, lined up like a frozen army is incommunicably beautiful. Various descriptions were tossed around: gold and silver plated candies, gold doubloons, or ‘Beetle T-1000’.”  We then found an image of Macraspis chrysis on the Beetles (Coleoptera) and coleopterists site and clicking on the image produces this nice enlargement.  The species is also pictured on FlickR.

Macraspis chrysis

Wow! Thanks for the quick reply. I’m happy you were able to identify this particular beetle. Thank you so much for the help. This is a great resource for anyone with questions about a particular insect!

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