Unknown Flower Scarabs from South Africa are Monkey Beetles

Bug orgy in yellow flower
Tue, Jan 6, 2009 at 8:25 AM
Photographed in the Langeberg Range in South Africa in montane fynbos ecosystem. Photo is attached
Langeberg Range in South Africa

Flower Scarabs
Flower Scarabs

Hi Again Brett,
Thanks for the donation. As you may realize, we are a very small operation and we cannot post nor answer every letter that is submitted to our site. We believe these are some species of Flower Scarab in the tribe Trichiini or at least in the Subfamily Cetoniinae , but we don’t have access to many guides of South African insects, so exact identification is beyond our capabilities. You can search the North American BugGuide section on Trichiini to get additional information.

Wed, Jan 28, 2009 at 4:23 PM
Hi Daniel:
These look like Monkey Beetles (Scarabaeidae: Rutelinae: Hopliini), which occur almost exclusively in South Africa. They are pollen feeders and important pollinators. Atypically for beetles, Monkey Beetles are attracted to host flowers visually, not by scent, and they have co-evolved a very close relationship with a number of plant species. Many host plants rely almost exclusively on these beetles for pollination, in some cases on a single beetle species. Host flowers are typically bright yellow, orange or red and many have ‘beetle marks’, distinctive color marks that have been shown to attract Monkey Beetles. Many species are gregarious and aggregations (as in Brett’s photo) are common. As a group, Monkey Beetles are surprisingly diverse given their limited range, and I was not able to make a more precise identification. Regards.

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