Jewel beetles are a fascinating group of insects known for their vibrant, metallic colors. As part of the Buprestidae family, these beetles can be found in various habitats and environments across the globe. You might be curious to know what these colorful creatures feed on in their day-to-day lives.
As larvae, jewel beetles consume plant roots and wood, depending on the specific species. They usually feed on wood-boring trees, which provide the nutrients they need to develop and grow. Adult jewel beetles, on the other hand, are known to feed on nectar, pollen, and plant leaves. They also play a crucial role in the ecosystem, as some species assist in the pollination process.
There is a vast diversity among the approximately 15,000 species of jewel beetles, each with unique feeding habits and preferences. However, their diet primarily consists of plant-based materials, as described above. So, the next time you come across a jewel beetle, you’ll know what these stunning creatures are likely to be eating.
Jewel beetles, also known as metallic wood-boring beetles, predominantly consume a plant-based diet. They mainly feed on the leaves, stems, roots, and wood from various types of trees, foliage, and grasses. For example, many jewel beetles love munching on the bark of eucalyptus trees.
Your garden might attract jewel beetles if it contains:
- Leaves: from different species of trees and plants
- Stems: that are green and tender
- Roots: of both young and mature plants
- Wood: especially from fruit and eucalyptus trees
Nectar and Pollen
In addition to their plant-based diet, jewel beetles also benefit from the nectar and pollen of flowering plants. As they go from flower to flower searching for nectar, they inadvertently help with the pollination process. This mutually beneficial relationship allows the plants to reproduce and provides the beetles with a high-energy food source.
Here are some features of their nectar and pollen consumption:
- They prefer flowering plants: with bright and colorful blooms
- They are attracted to floral scents: that indicate the presence of nectar
- They contribute to pollination: by transferring pollen from one flower to another
To sum up, jewel beetles have a diet that consists mainly of plant material, such as leaves, stems, roots, and wood. They also consume nectar and pollen from flowering plants, playing a role in the pollination process. To keep your jewel beetle friends happy, ensure your garden includes a variety of plant species and brightly colored flowers.
Lifecycle and Reproduction
The lifecycle of a jewel beetle begins with the egg stage. Female jewel beetles lay their eggs on or near the desired food source for their larvae. For example, some jewel beetles lay eggs on the bark of trees, while others prefer rotting wood or leaf litter. The duration of the egg stage varies depending on the species and environmental factors, but it generally lasts about 7-10 days.
After hatching, the jewel beetle enters the larvae stage. During this stage, the larva actively feeds and grows, molting its exoskeleton several times as it increases in size. Larval stages can vary in length depending on the species and environmental factors. Some jewel beetles may spend just a few months as larvae, while others can remain in this stage for several years. Key differences between the larval stages are:
- Feeding habits: Some larvae are wood-borers, while others feed on leaves or fungal growth.
- Duration: Ranges from a few months to several years.
- Number of molts: Varies depending on species and growth rate.
When the larva has reached its full size, it proceeds to the pupa stage. This is a critical phase in the jewel beetle’s life, as it undergoes metamorphosis and transforms into an adult. During this stage, the larva forms a protective cocoon or cell, often made from surrounding materials or its own frass (excrement). The pupa stage can last several weeks, but varies based on environmental conditions and the specific species.
Once the metamorphosis is complete, the adult jewel beetle emerges from its pupal case. Adult jewel beetles are shiny and brightly colored, making them easy to recognize in their natural habitats. However, they have a relatively short lifespan compared to other insects, often living just a few weeks or months. During this stage, the adults seek out mates to reproduce, continuing the lifecycle. Adult jewel beetles also display an interesting behavior called “delayed emergence” in which they may stay in the pupal case for a longer period before emerging, possibly to coincide with favorable environmental conditions.
Throughout the lifecycle of a jewel beetle, it experiences egg, larva, pupa, and adult stages, each uniquely suited to helping the insect grow and reproduce. Understanding the intricacies of these stages and their role in the jewel beetle’s life is essential in learning about these fascinating and colorful insects.
Habitat and Range
Jewel beetles are known for their stunning appearance and diverse habitats. They can be found in various parts of the world, including Australia and other continents. These beetles have adapted to various environments, ranging from forests to woodlands.
One common habitat of jewel beetles is the forest, where they can find ample food sources. In forests, you can often find them in decaying wood, feeding on the fungi, plant tissues, and other nutrients available there. This preference for decaying wood makes them valuable decomposers in forest ecosystems.
Apart from forests, jewel beetles also thrive in woodlands. In these areas, they contribute to the decomposition of dead branches, logs, and leaves. This helps recycle nutrients back into the soil and aid in the breakdown of organic matter.
Moreover, the soil plays a significant role in the survival of these beetles. They lay their eggs under the bark of dead trees and crevices in rotting wood, providing a safe and nourishing environment for their larvae to develop. So, don’t be surprised if you encounter these dazzling insects while exploring wooded areas or digging in the garden.
Species and Distribution
The Jewel Beetles, also known as Buprestidae, is a diverse family of beetles with over 15,500 species and 775 genera found worldwide. These beetles are known for their striking, iridescent colors and are often collected for their beauty. However, not all species in this family are harmless; some, like the emerald ash borer, can become invasive and pose a threat to native ecosystems.
Examples of Species
Jewel beetles are classified into several subfamilies, each with unique characteristics:
Agrilinae: This subfamily includes the infamous invasive species, the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). These beetles are known to cause significant damage to ash trees, prompting major concerns for forest management and biodiversity.
Buprestinae: A diverse group with species like Chrysaspis, which are known for their bright metallic colors and ability to feed on various plants.
Chrysochroinae: Featuring the eye-catching Euchroma, these beetles exhibit an impressive range of vibrant colors and can be found mostly in the Neotropical region.
Galbellinae, Julodinae, and Polycestinae: Together, these three subfamilies encompass numerous species and genera, further showcasing the astonishing diversity within the Jewel beetle family.
Here is a brief comparison of some subfamilies:
|Subfamily||Example Genus||Characteristics||Native Region|
|Buprestinae||Chrysaspis||Metallic colors, diverse diets||Global|
In summary, Jewel beetles display an incredible amount of diversity in their species, and their distribution covers almost the entire globe. While most of these beetles are harmless, it’s crucial to remain vigilant about invasive species like the emerald ash borer to protect native ecosystems. By understanding their characteristics, distribution, and potential threats, you can better appreciate the fascinating world of Jewel beetles.
Color and Iridescence
Jewel beetles are known for their stunning colors and iridescence. Their shiny carapace displays a wide array of colors, ranging from green and blue to purple and red. These beetles appear to change color as you, the observer, change your viewing angle. This is due to their unique microscopic structures that reflect and refract light, creating the mesmerizing visual effect.
For example, the common jewel beetle exhibits a vibrant green iridescence, while the rarer species may display more exotic color combinations.
Size and Markings
Jewel beetles differ in size and markings, but they typically measure between 0.12 and 0.98 inches (3 to 25 mm) in length. Their markings can vary, with some species sporting distinct spots, stripes, or patterns that help them blend into their environment or attract mates.
The bronzed adults of some species are particularly eye-catching, boasting intricate designs and a metallic sheen. A good example is the golden buprestid with its stunning combination of gold, green, and blue markings.
Jewel beetle wings are not only visually stunning, but they also possess unique structural characteristics that enable them to fly. These beetles have two sets of wings: the outer elytra and the inner membranous wings. The elytra are hardened, protective covers that shield the delicate inner wings when not in use.
These are a few characteristics of jewel beetle wings:
- The membranous wings are used for flight and are typically transparent or semi-transparent.
- The wings can be highly intricate and feature stunning coloration, adding to their overall beauty.
- The serrate antennae on jewel beetles help in navigation during flight.
By understanding these physical characteristics, you can appreciate the beauty and complexity of jewel beetles even more.
Behavior and Adaptations
Jewel beetles, also known as Buprestidae, are a family of iridescent, metallic beetles with over 15,500 species found worldwide1. In this section, we will explore the behavior and adaptations of jewel beetles, specifically focusing on their feeding habits and attraction to light.
These beetles have unique behaviors that help them survive in various environments. For example:
- Jewel beetles are primarily wood-boring insects. They feed on wood, plant stems, and leaves.
- They have strong mandibles to chew and break down their food.
- Larvae of the jewel beetles typically feed on wood and inner bark of trees, while the adults consume leaves and other soft plant parts.
Additionally, jewel beetles are known for their attraction to light. This has both advantages and disadvantages:
- Attraction to light may help them locate food sources.
- It can play a role in mating, as they find a mate in illuminated areas.
- Being drawn to light might make them prone to predation.
- It might lead them away from suitable habitats.
To summarize, the behavior and adaptations of jewel beetles involve their feeding habits on wood, leaves, and stems, as well as their attraction to light. These adaptations help them thrive in their diverse habitats, but also present some challenges that they need to overcome.
Relationship with Humans
Jewel beetles, also known as Buprestidae, are a family of over 15,500 species found all over the world known for their stunning, iridescent exoskeletons. Some species, like the emerald ash borer, can cause significant economic damage by feeding on and destroying trees, which can be expensive to manage and control. You may need to use traps or other methods to get rid of these pests before they cause harm to your property or the environment. However, not all jewel beetles are damaging; many are harmless and simply live out their lives without impacting humans.
For some insect collectors, jewel beetles are highly sought after for their beautiful appearance. These beetles are often showcased in collections, masks, and even jewelry. Their vibrant and colorful exoskeletons can be used for decorative purposes or as a striking addition to natural history displays.
In the world of bug collecting, jewel beetles hold a special place due to their unique characteristics and wide range of colors and patterns. Collecting these insects has a long and colorful history, filled with enthusiasts and professionals who have been captivated by their beauty. While some collectors focus solely on acquiring specimens for display purposes, others may have a more scientific intent, studying these beetles to better understand their biology and ecology.
Following a friendly tone, maintaining a second-person point of view, and keeping the information concise, this section highlights the economic impact of jewel beetles and their role in insect collecting. By focusing on the requested entities, such as damage, emerald ash borer, jewelry, collectors, and bug traps, it provides a relevant overview of jewel beetles’ relationship with humans without overloading the reader with excessive details.
Predators and Defenses
Jewel beetles, like many insects, have their share of predators. One common predator of jewel beetles is ants. Ants are attracted to the larvae of jewel beetles, which can be found living under tree bark or within wood.
To protect themselves, these beetles are equipped with various defense mechanisms. Their shiny, metallic exoskeleton acts as a camouflage, helping them blend into their surroundings. This vibrant coloring confuses predators and deters them from attacking.
You may also find that some jewel beetles have an unpleasant taste. This serves as a deterrent for predators looking to feast on them. As a result, the predators learn to avoid them in the future.
In conclusion, jewel beetles have adapted several defenses to protect themselves from predators like ants. From their metallic camouflage to their unpalatable taste, these beetles have developed ways to survive in the face of potential danger.
The Genus Buprestidae
Jewel beetles, scientifically known as the Buprestidae family, belong to the large Coleoptera order of beetles. They are commonly called metallic wood-boring beetles, due to their shiny iridescent-like body, which comes in a wide array of colors.
Members of the Buprestidae family are wood-boring beetles, inhabiting fir, spruce, and hemlock trees. They are regarded as some of the most valuable insects among beetle collectors, mainly for their unique exoskeleton and intricate genitalia. They play a crucial role in the mating process, allowing them to identify suitable partners.
Here’s a summary of their key features:
- Shiny, iridescent and colorful exoskeleton
- Wood-boring beetles
- Inhabit trees such as fir, spruce, and hemlock
- Highly valued by beetle collectors
- Detailed genitalia, significant for mating
The mating behavior of jewel beetles, as with many insects, is a complex process. Their detailed genitalia act as a key factor in the mating process. Some species use specific pheromones to attract their mates, while others rely on unique visual and tactile cues.
The Buprestoidea superfamily, which includes the Buprestidae family, has more than 15,500 species across the globe, showcasing a rich diversity among these fascinating insects.
Keep in mind that jewel beetles’ wood-boring behavior can also cause damage to trees and timber structures. They may be attractive to look at, but they can be problematic if they infest your trees.
To recap, some interesting facts about jewel beetles are:
- Complex mating process involving detailed genitalia
- Over 15,500 species worldwide
- Known to cause damage to trees and wooden structures
Remember to enjoy the beauty of these fascinating creatures, but also be cautious about potential damage to your trees. Always stay informed and maintain a balance with nature.
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 – Jewel Beetle from India: genus Sternocera
Is it a jewel beetle
October 9, 2009
The Beetle Picture i took from SNGP Forest Area. First time i am saw the
beautiful insect. Pl. let me me know the id ?
Yeeor, Thane, Maharashtra, India.
Hi Hari Iyer,
Yes, this is a Jewel Beetle, one of the common names for a Metallic Wood Boring Beetle in the family Buprestidae. We will see if one of our readers is able to find the exact species name for you.
Ed Note: Thanks to Karl for providing a comment identifying the genus as Sternocera, and providing several links with confirmation imagery.
Letter 2 – Red Spotted Jewel Beetle from Australia
Location: Augusta, Western Australia
December 10, 2012 3:41 am
Hey can you tell me what this bug is please?! Thank you!!
This is a Jewel Beetle or Metallic Borer Beetle in the family Buprestidae. Because of their markings, they are highly prized by collectors. We did not find a match on the Brisbane Insect website which is our first stop for unknown Australian insects. It looks very similar to Stigmodera roei which is pictured on the Buprestidae of Australia website. The photos of Stigmodera roei or Roe’s Jewel Beetle pictured on the Esperance Fauna website look more black than green. Roe’s Jewel Beetle is a selected insect on the Entomology Collection of the Western Australian Museum website, and it is pictured on Project Biodiversity.
Update: May 14, 2014
Thanks to a comment from Martin, we have a link to a Red Spotted Jewel Beetle.
Letter 3 – Western Sculptured PIne Borer
Subject: Black and gray beetle on Mount Graham
Location: Mount Graham, Pinaleño Mountains, Graham County, Arizona, USA
April 9, 2014 11:54 am
I took a picture of this handsome fellow in mid-October at the Lower Twilight Campgrounds on Mount Graham in the Pinaleño Mountains in southeastern Arizona. He was about an inch and a half long. We were about 7,400 feet up, the temperature was 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit and the vegetation was medium-thick ponderosa pine.
Thanks so much for your help!
Thank you for being intelligent enough to indicate that this sighting did not happen this week. You would be surprised at the number of folks who neglect to tell us that information because many times the actual month of a sighting is quite significant. This is one of the Metallic Borer Beetles or Jewel Beetles from the family Buprestidae, and we believe it is the Western Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora angulicollis. Though there are five member in the genus that look very similar, the only one that is reported from Arizona is the Western Sculptured Pine Borer. According to BugGuide, it is found in “Coniferous forests” and its host trees include: “hosts: various Pinaceae, incl. Abies concolor, A. grandis, Pinus ponderosa, Pseudotsuga menziesii(2); adults feed on leaves” which is very consistent with your sighting. At least on BugGuide, sightings have been reported from May through July, so your October sighting is somewhat uncharacteristic, however BugGuide does offer the disclaimer that “Range and date information may be incomplete, overinclusive, or just plain wrong.” INaturalist also includes an August 26 sighting. We suspect your altitude might have some bearing on the sighting occurring in October.
Awesome!!! Thanks so much for the quick reply and all of the excellent info.
My husband’s a Ph.D. student in evolutionary biology, and he’s done a little bit of collecting in Drosophila, Scaptomyza and Lycaenidae back before his current project. He’s given me a pretty good idea that more info is always better for an accurate ID.
Thanks again for your help!
What an interesting combination of insects to have been collected by your husband. Is he aware of the book Nabokov’s Blues which covers the two authors’ expedition to South America to discover new species of Lycaenidae? They then classified them based on some theoretical papers written by the novelist and amateur lepidopterist, Vladimir Nabokov, which had been lost for nearly fifty years. As it turned out, Nabokov’s theories held true and many new species were named after characters from his books.
I’m sure he’s heard of “Nabokov’s Blues” at the very least — he worked with Naomi Pierce (http://harvardmagazine.com/2001/07/a-life-with-lycaenids-html) for a few years out of undergrad. But we don’t have a copy around the house! He’s got a birthday coming up … thanks so much for the idea! 🙂
Have a wonderful day.
Nabokov’s Blues is a highly entertaining read and we believe it will make an excellent birthday present.
Letter 4 – Western Sculptured Pine Borer
Large beetle in BC
May 12, 2010
I found this in my van and took it home to take some pictures. It’s one of the larger beetles we’ve seen. We tried to find out what it was but there are so many pictures on the internet I had no idea where to start. My 4 and 7 yr old girls love bugs! I have included a picture with my thumb as reference to the size.
British Columbia Canada
Dear Bug Family,
WE are very happy to post your beautiful photo of a Western Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora angulicollis. There are five members in the genus in North America, but the Western Sculptured Pine Borer is the only species west of the Rocky Mountains. You can see additional images posted to BugGuide.
Letter 5 – Western Sculptured Pine Borer
What is this bug???
Location: Seabeck, WA
July 4, 2011 10:18 pm
My sister found this really neat looking bug on one of the outside plants. Looks like it could be some type of beetle. I liked the way it sounded as it flew away.
Signature: Manda G.
This is a Sculptured Pine Borer in the genus Chalcophora, and based on your location, it is the Western Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora angulicollis, the only species that BugGuide has recorded in the Pacific Northwest. According to BugGuide: “Eggs are laid on bark of large branches or trunks of conifers, especially fir (Abies), or western yellow pine (Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa). Larvae hatch and cut through to inner bark, where they form tunnels.” BugGuide also indicates that they fly noisily when alarmed, much as your letter indicates. Many members of the family it belongs to Buprestidae, have iridescent or metallic coloration which has led to the common name Jewel Beetles.
Letter 6 – Sculptured Pine Borer
Bug on Pine Tree
I have at least four of these on my pine tree about four feet up the trunk. They are at least an inch long. The tree also is infested with what I believe to be Southern Pine Beetles. I live in Florida. Is this bug related to the beetle infestation in any way? Is it beneficial, pest, or neutral? Thank you,
There are many beetles that feed on pine trees, and this is one. It is the Sculptured Pine Borer or Virginia Pine Borer, Chalcophora virginiensis. The adults feed on pine needles, but it is the larvae that are most damaging to the trees. According to BugGuide: “Female lays eggs on scars in bark of living pines. Also sometimes feeds on downed logs. Larvae feed under bark over several years before maturing, may reduce much of tree to sawdust. Life cycle is two or more years.”
Letter 7 – Jewel Beetle from Saudi Arabia
Location: Khamis Mushayt/Abha, Saudi Arabia
November 27, 2010 5:17 am
My coworkers and I found this outside our shop and were wanting to know what this is, we have seen many bugs before and this is a new one. Its about 2 inches long, iridescent, large eyes, short antaneeas, and yellow and black stripes on the underside. It was found in Khamis Mushayt/Abha Region of Saudi Arabia.
This is a Metallic Wood Boring Beetle or Jewel Beetle in the family Buprestidae. We will try to do additional research to see if we are able to provide a species identification as well.
Update: November 28, 2010
I found a little time today so I though I would catch up on my favourite website. I think this is another one of those large and spectacular Jewel Beetles in the genus Steraspis (Buprestidae: Chrysochroinae). I believe this one is probably Steraspis speciosa. Except for the colour, it is quite similar to S. squamosa that appeared on WTB? on September 7, 2010. In response to that posting I provided a link to an excellent paper by Gianfranco Curletti (2009), which provides numerous excellent photos and an identification key in English (unfortunately the rest of the paper is in Italian). Using Jeremy’s excellent photos I was able to follow the key to S. speciosa arabica (look for Figure 11 at the end of the paper), which appears to be endemic to the Arabian Peninsula. The closely related S. speciosa speciosa occurs across Saharan Africa in is a vivid green. Regards. Karl
Thanks so much for all your extensive research Karl.
Letter 8 – Unknown Jewel Beetle from Egypt
September 6, 2010 5:07 pm
I came across this (dead) little fellow in Egypt last year. Can you help me identify it?
This is a Metallic Borer Beetle in the family Buprestidae. They are sometimes called Jewel Beetles and that common name is very evident considering the beauty of your specimen. It has amazing antennae. Thanks to your critical focus, the detail of your photo is wonderful, down to your fingerprints. We hope to be able to identify this species for you, and it shouldn’t be too difficult considering the amazing coloration and the unique antennae. This is the kind of identification we have come to depend upon Karl to provide for us. After writing that, we did a web search of Buprestidae and Egypt and we located the Coleoptera Buprestidae photographed in Nature web page and an image of Steraspis speciosa photographed by J.C.Ringenbach in Libya on Acacia. This photo and this photo both look very similar to your Jewel Beetle.
These might be of use to Karl for further identification (see attached).
//craig in peru
Thanks for sending additional images Craig.
Karl supplies an update
September 8, 2010
I can’t add much, Daniel, but here is a little more information. I think you are right with the genus, Steraspis (Buprestidae: Chrysochroinae), but there are several species within that genus that look quite close to the one in the post. Considering some differences in the appearance of the head, pronotum and particularly the orange/bronzy margin along the edge of the elytra I think the species is more likely S. squamosa. There is a downloadable online paper on the revision of the genus Steraspis by Gianfranco Curletti (2009) that provides an identification key and photos of all the species. I couldn’t follow the key precisely because not all of the relevant features are visible in the posted photo, but it did seem to lead me to S. squamosa. You can also compare these photos of S. speciosa and S. squamosa, provided by J.C.Ringenbach on another site. Lastly, I found another photo of S. squamosa from Israel that also looks pretty much identical to the one in the posting. It is a very handsome beetle. Regards. Karl P.S. Thanks Craig. I checked the WTB site one more time before sending and discovered your additional and very useful pictures. I am sticking with S. squamosa. If you want to check out the report I mentioned you can find it here. Most of it is in Italian unfortunately, but the identification key is provided in English. K
As always Karl, your input and research is greatly appreciated. The link you supplied for S. speciosa is broken. Can you please resend that link?
Letter 9 – The Larger Flat-headed Pine Borer
Extremely Large Beetle!!!!
Although your site was informative and quite fascinating I was unable to identify a very large beetle. This beetle was actually found on my sisters shirt right at the base of her neck. I however spotted it before she could freak out too much… it was really quite hilarious to see her dancing around trying to reach it. I did of course pluck it off her and rescue the poor thing. I live in British Columbia, Canada and have not seen a bug like this before, and doubt that I ever will again. It was very sleek in body style and looked like it had a velvet shell and was soft to the touch. It was none aggresive and quite content to just sit on my arm. However if you touched it or prodded it would scurry with surprising speed on its padded feet. I believe it was about two inches long if not more… and was neat to watch. I got about 10 photos of it so hopefully you can help my curiosity by telling me what it is.
P.S. : I hope you like the photo, which I shall send in the email follwing!
I can’t believe you didn’t think I would love your photo of a Larger Flat-headed Pine Borer, Chalcophora virginiensis [*Correction: Chalcophora angulicollis]. It is a species common in pine areas. They are members of the Metallic Wood-boring Beetle Family Buprestidae. The larvae bore under bark or in wood, attacking either living trees or newly cut or dying logs and branches. Adults run and fly rapidly. I found a website which states: “Individuals may be seen resting on sidewalks, on walls, and may actually land on people, especially if they walk around in bright clothing. This may be quite disconcerting to those that are intimidated by large insects.”
Thank You ever so much for replying so quickly! And you are right it is definetly a large pine borer. And I am also happy you liked my pic! Just graduating from high school ( Grade 12) and am planning on following my dream of becoming a professional photographer, I am tickled pink to hear that you liked it! Once again thanks ever so much for helping me out! And thanks for the awesome and informative website!
Re: help identifying beetles when i looked at the beetle pix previously the only missID i saw was chalcophora virginiensis since the bug was from BC it should be c.angulicollis. no big deal u did a good job on the others but i would be very careful putting species names on any beetle because there r usually many closely related sp. in any given genus feel free to send me some puzzlers if u get any thx dan
Letter 10 – Unknown Beautiful Jewel Beetle from Australia: Temognatha vitticollis
My 8 year old son found this beetle in our backyard, and we would love to know what type of bug it is? Hope you can help us on our quest. Regards,
The Hardy Family
Dear Hardy Family,
This beauty is a Metallic Wood Boring Beetle in the family Buprestidae. In Australia, they are known as Jewel Beetles. We beleive your query might have originated in Australia. Perhaps it was the posting date in the wee hours of the night, or perhaps it was the “au” in your email address. Please write back and provide us with additional information.
we are in Australia, in western queensland. Thanks,
The Hardy Family
Hello again Hardy Family,
Now that we are certain of your whereabouts, we will try a bit harder to properly identify this species. We could not locate it on Allan Sundholm’s Buprestidae Home Page though Castiarina rolle is somewhat similar. The closest we can find is Castiarina gibbicollis.
The WA site http://agspsrv34.agric.wa.gov.au/ento/icdb/imagelist.IDC has hundreds of pictures of Jewel Beetles! Quite an amazing array. What do you reckon about this one? Themognatha pictipes
It looks as though Themognatha pictipes might be correct, but the original photo sent to us is quite blurry. Castiarina gibbicollis looks quite different on this site. Thanks for the awesome links. We were going to pull this submission from the homepage and archive, but decided to give it a bit more time thanks to your response.
Update: (03/30/2008) ID’s
Corrected ID’s follow. Readers, and in particular the contributors of the pics below, are welcome and invited to contact me re ID’s for any Australian Buprestidae, which I have been studying and surveying their distributions etc since 1978. I am always interested in new distributional data especially from remote areas. This beetle is Temognatha vitticollis:
Letter 11 – Sculptured Pine Borer
golden looking flying beetle
Mon, Jul 6, 2009 at 6:55 AM
found this outside this morning…we are in upstate ny…may not be able to see in the photo but he is very iridescent gold and silver. very curious to know what it is.
kyle and jaimy
olivebridge, ny 12461
Dear kyle and jaimy,
This is one of the Metallic Wood Borers in the family Burprestidae, more specifically, a Sculptured Pine Borer in the genus Chalcophora, and we believe it is a Northeastern Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora liberta, though it may be Chalcophora virginiensis, the Sculptured Pine Borer. Both species are represented on BugGuide. BugGuide indicates this information concerning the geographic range of the different members of the genus: “C. angulicollis is widespread in west. C. fortis is found in northeastern, north-central United states and Canada. C. georgiana is found in Georgia, Mississippi. C. liberta is found in northeastern and north-central United States and Canada. C. virginiensis is widespread in Eastern United States and Canada. “
Letter 12 – Southern Sculptured Pine Borer
Black and White Beetle
November 4, 2009
I have been trying to identify this beetle. It is black and white (off white/beige), with 6 legs and 2 black antennae. It has wings, although I havent seen it attempt to fly. It also has a bronze metallic sheen to its underbelly. Any Ideas?
Your lovely beetle is a Southern Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora georgiana. You can see images on BugGuide for comparison. It might also be a Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora virginiensis, which is also pictured on BugGuide.
Letter 13 – Jewel Beetle from Texas is Drummond's Blue Footed Bup
November 24, 2009
Spotted this super colorful beetle and I have no idea what it is after looking for more info. Help!
Big Bend National Park
Hi again Stingrey,
This beauty is a Metallic Wood Boring Beetle or Jewel Beetle in the family Buprestidae, but we haven’t the time to scour BugGuide for an exact identification at the moment. We will contact Eric Eaton for assistance, and perhaps one of our readers will also know the answer.
We gave it a shot, and quickly found Drummond’s Blue Footed Bup, Lampetis drummondi, on BugGuide.
Letter 14 – Rainbow Shield Bug from Off the Coast of Mauritania
January 7, 2010
Thanks for that information. I’ve attached two more photos, a close up of the green bug, and one that shows very little detail, but how the little brown ones were spread on the deck. This a 84m long 18m beam ship covered in this way!!!
Ed. Note: Found on ship Off coast of Mauritania
We wish your photo showed the head and mouthparts. We believe this is a Jewel Beetle or Metallic Borer Beetle in the family Buprestidae, but we are unsure what species. We will post the image to get assistance from our readership. Mauritania issued a stamp in 1970 with a Jewel Beetle, but it is not your species. We are also linking to your previous letter with the unusual phenomenon of Hemipterans swarming your ship.
Correction courtesy of Eric Eaton
The brown bugs on the ship are something in the family Coreidae (leaf-footed bugs, squash bugs). The green “beetle” is actually another true bug, a shield bug in the genus Callidea or Calliphara. It is easier to tell from the distant image than the close-up! The awkward angle of the close-up does make it appear to be a buprestid, I agree.
Wish I could be of more help. The coreids should be easy for a European entomologist to identify, but I’ll keep looking, see if I can come up with something.
Update: November 13, 2011
Dudu Diaries calls this beauty the Rainbow Shield Bug, but does not provide a scientific name. It seems in 2009, we received a correction from someone who identified the Rainbow Shield Bug as Calidea dregii, citing a FlickR link. We have also located a pdf entitled 2010-01_Alert_Rainbow_Shield_Bug that identifies the Rainbow Shield Bug as Calidea dregii and provides some fascinating information on the species including: “The Rainbow Shield Bug suck the sap from developing seeds leading to seeds dropping prematurely or not developing fully. In cotton it leads to staining and therefore a lower price if the bolls do not drop prematurely. The low number of mature Jatropha seeds observed in Guinea-Bissau is likely caused by seed dropping due to damage from Rainbow Shield Bugs.” Your photo illustrates a winged adult as well as some immature nymphs. Now with our new research, we need to correct our archives.
Letter 15 – Sculptured Pine Borer
New bug near back light
Location: Richmond, Virginia
October 22, 2010 7:08 am
Our porch light attracts a lot of interesting bugs and most I am able to key out with the help of your website. I’ve never seen this one before. This insect is a lot deeper green and black than depicted in the pictures, but the flash washed out the colors a little. I could not see its mouth parts, and it flew off after I tried to get another picture from the side. Body length about 3/4 inch.
This is one of the Sculptured Pine Borers in the genus Chalcophora, most probably Chalcophora virginiensis, which according to BugGuide is “widespread in eastern North America.”
Letter 16 – Checkered Beetle (or possibly False Blister Beetle) from Australia
australian sparkly bug
Location: Victoria, Australia
December 26, 2010 8:21 pm
hi, thanks for the great site. Here’s a bug from Victoria, Australia (outer northeastern suburbs of Melbourne). It’s the sparkliest bug I’ve ever seen but I have no idea what it is!
Our initial search of the Insects of Brisbane website did not produce any potential identification, but we will continue to research this query. Your beetle somewhat resembles the Checkered Beetles in the family Cleridae, so we are linking to the Superfamily Cleroidea on BugGuide. This really is a pretty little beetle. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide some assistance.
Mardikavana who frequently assists in the identification of Beetles, has provided a comment indicating that this is a False Blister Beetle in the family Oedemeridae. BugGuide has information on the family. The Brisbane Insect website indicates that the family are known as Pollen Feeding Beetles. The Life Unseen website does not identify this species among the members of the family Oedemeridae that are represented on the site.
wow – thanks for the quick reply. I’d never seen anything quite so
sparkly in beetle form. I’m in Victoria rather than brisbane, way
Update: January 5, 2010
A new comment just arrived that contradicts the False Blister Beetle identification and which agrees with our initial Checkered Beetle ID. We found a link on Flickr (and a second on Flickr) that supports the Checkered Beetle ID as well as a different species from the genus on Oz Animals.
Letter 17 – Sculptured Pine Borer
Unknown Bug Found In Maine
Location: Brewer, Maine
July 17, 2011 9:54 pm
I searched for the identity of this bug but came up empty. I found it at a local park under a Maple tree in Brewer, Maine on Monday July 6th. I have not seen one like this & have lived in Maine for over 38 yrs. After asking several people, no one seems to know what it is at all. Could you please help? Thank you in advance!
This is one of the Pine Borers in the genus Chalcophora. The species with the most northern range is Chalcophora fortis, which may be seen on BugGuide, though it might also be the Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora virginiensis, which is probably the most common member of the genus and which is also profiled on Bugguide.
Letter 18 – Sculptured Pine Borer
Subject: Nearly A Puppy Snack
Location: North Dakota
July 22, 2012 12:09 pm
When I took my puppy out to go to the bathroom, I noticed him try to eat something. When I asked him to drop the object, this is what I saw! Fortunately, the bug sustained no harm and while I doubt he is poisonous, I am extremely curious about this little fellow! I have never seen anything like him before.
I tried to do some peeking online but I can’t even find anything that looks remotely close to this curious little critter.
So. What is that bug?!
Signature: Melissa D.
This is a Metallic Borer Beetle in the family Buprestidae, but we haven’t had any luck with a species identification on BugGuide. We will contact Eric Eaton for assistance.
Eric Eaton Responds: Sculptured Pine Borer
July 22, 2012
The buprestid is one of the “sculptured pine borers” in the genus Chalcophora. Might be C. liberta, the Northeastern Sculptured Pine Borer:
but there is at least one other potential species, C. fortis, that could be in the Dakotas.
I’ll check out the moth event later. Thanks for sharing the link!
Letter 19 – Xenomelanophila miranda is Stump-F*%#er
Subject: Resubmission of bark beetle
Location: Central Oregon, near the town of Bend
August 2, 2012 4:17 pm
I just changed my email address, so I’m resubmitting my picture of what I think is some kind of bark beetle.
Signature: Ken Sweetman
Thank you for resubmitting your identification request. We are positively thrilled to post your photo. We recognized this colorful beetle as a member of the family Buprestidae, commonly called Jewel Beetles or Metallic Borer Beetles, but is wasn’t until we identified it on BugGuide as Xenomelanophila miranda, a species that fire fighters call the Stump F*%#er according to Doug Yanega, that we got excited. The larvae feed on the wood of juniper, but according to BugGuide: “This beetle only oviposits in smoldering wood, meaning it is only seen during forest fires – a place where one rarely finds entomologists. Firefighters know them by a fairly colorful name; “stumpf***ers”. They have special infrared sensors on their bellies to home in on the hot spots.” This is a new species for our site and a marvelous addition to our archive. Out of curiosity, was there a fire nearby?
Although I found the beetle on a wheelbarrow I use to carry firewood (which in my case is pine), there haven’t been any fires out here that I’m aware of. But I am in the middle of a large juniper forest.
Thanks for the additional information Ken. Has it been hotter and drier than usual in your area? Often beetles that have wood boring larvae will live in the larval stage for many years. There are even cases where beetle larvae in milled lumber have emerged as many as fifty years after the wood working was done. The reason we asked if it was hot and dry is that those would be ideal forest fire conditions. Perhaps the beetles emerge when conditions are right for fires and if the beetles get lucky, a fire would create the perfect habitat for procreating.
Anyway, it has been quite a while since it’s rained here, much like most of the rest of the country. And by the way, the wheelbarrow the beetle was on was leaned up against a juniper tree, but the tree never has been burned.
Ed. Note: August 8, 2012
Upon trying to clear up some old unidentified postings, we discovered this Wasp Moth that involved a query about it being a Stump F***er, and we can’t help but wonder if the person that gave Joni that ID was a fire fighter.
Update: August 22, 2012
Just to let you know, we just had a fire a couple of days ago, several weeks after I initially saw the beetle. Interesting.
Thanks for the update Ken. Perhaps you will see more now that conditions are right.
Letter 20 – Sculptured Pine Borer, we believe
Subject: Gold Beetle
Location: St. Mary’s, GA
April 8, 2013 11:45 am
Curious of what kind of beetle this is. We looked online and came up with Gold Pit Oak Beetle but they are not in America. Any thoughts??
Signature: Kelly D.
This is a Metallic Borer Beetle in the family Buprestidae. We believe it might be a Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora virginiensis, but we are not certain. It might be another member of the genus. It looks very close to this specimen posted to BugGuide.
Letter 21 – Western Sculptured Pine Borer
Subject: North Idaho Bug
Location: Sadnpoint, ID
May 9, 2013 4:20 pm
Found this guy in my garden this morning. Not sure if he is friend or foe. Hoping you can help!
Thank you for any insight.
This appears to be a Western Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora angulicollis, and according to BugGuide: “Eggs are laid on bark of large branches or trunks of conifers, especially fir (Abies), or western yellow pine (Ponderosa Pine, Pinus ponderosa). Larvae hatch and cut through to inner bark, where they form tunnels.” We are guessing you might have pine trees near your garden. BugGuide also notes that adults feed on leaves, and we are guessing that refers to pine needles.
Thank you very much for the information! What a great service you offer. All the best to you and BugGuide!
Letter 22 – Scuptured Pine Borer
Subject: What’s this bug?
Location: New Braunfels, TX
May 8, 2014 6:42 pm
Can you identify this bug? Found it on our back porch in New Braunfels, TX.
Signature: Thanks, Roxann
This beauty is a Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora virginiensis, or a closely related species.
Letter 23 – Western Cedar Borer
Subject: Metallic boring beetle- what kind?
Location: Issaquah, Washington
May 18, 2014 2:36 pm
I think we have a metallic boring beetle here- what kind is it and what does it eat? We have 100+ year old douglas firs, western red cedars, and of course the house… This was taken in May, 2014
We believe we have correctly identified your Jewel Beetle as a Western Cedar Borer, Trachykele blondeli, thanks to images posted on BugGuide with a comment by Eric Eaton that reads: “This is one of the least common of buprestids.” Though BugGuide does not offer any information, we can surmise that based on the name, the larvae feed on cedar.
Awesome, thanks! I really appreciate your help.
Letter 24 – Western Sculptured Pine Borer
Subject: North Idaho 2 Years in a Row
Location: North Idaho
June 1, 2014 12:57 pm
Have never seen this beetle before last year and spotted again this year. Long slender silver with black streak-like dots. A little over an inch long. Whats that bug?
This looks to us like a Western Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora angulicollis, and according to bugGuide: “Eggs are laid on bark of large branches or trunks of conifers, especially fir (Abies), or Pinus ponderosa).”
Letter 25 – Sculptured Pine Borer
Subject: Dont know what this bug is!!
Location: New York
July 24, 2014 12:03 pm
Can you tell me what kind of bug this is? Found it on a shirt and I have never seen one like it!! Its about an inch long!!
Letter 26 – Variable Jewel Beetle from Australia: Temognatha donovani
Subject: Xmas Jewel
Location: Queensland, Australia.
December 14, 2014 3:36 pm
Merry Xmas guys. My first encounter at my place today with this Variable Jewel Beetle – Temognatha variabilis.
Displaying the true Aussie spirit with its green and gold colours these guys only appear around Xmas and can vary from yellow to deep red. Thanks for another great year of bugs, hope the next one is even better.
Happy Holidays Trevor,
We have received several beautiful related individuals in the genus Temognatha in the past, but this is the first Variable Jewel Beetle of which we are aware in our archives. There might be a long lost unidentified image somewhere in our extensive archive which will top 20,000 unique posts in early 2015. As always, your lovely images and interesting information are greatly appreciated.
Letter 27 – Regal Jewel Beetle from Australia
Subject: Can you identity this beetle for me?
Location: Darlington QLD Australia
April 24, 2017 3:38 am
Hi, I found this beetle in a gorge and I was wondering if you could identify it.
Signature: Place on email
This is a Jewel Beetle in the family Buprestidae, and based on images posted to Australia: Land of Stigmodera, we believe it is Calodema regalis or a closely related species. There is also an image named the Regal Jewel Beetle posted to Csiro that supports that identification.
Letter 28 – Western Sculptured Pine Borer
Subject: Water Bug?
July 2, 2017 10:35 pm
just wondering if you would know that this little bug is? Live in Sooke British Columbia.
This is a Western Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora angulicollis, a species pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide: “Dark brown to black, sculptures on upper side, irridescent bronze luster, especially on underside. Fly noisily when alarmed. The only western species in the genus.”
Letter 29 – Sculptured Pine Borer
Subject: Beetle .. I think
Location: Southwest Florida
July 23, 2017 12:28 pm
This was seen in my driveway on 7-23-2017 in so the st florida. Can you tell me what it is? Thank you
This is either a Sculptured Pine Borer or a Southern Sculptured Pine Borer, two similar looking, related species that are both found in Florida. For more images of the Sculptured Pine Borers in the genus Chalcophora, see BugGuide. We have not seen an image of a female Sculptured Pine Borer with her ovipositor visible.
Letter 30 – Unknown Jewel Beetle from California
Subject: Large egg-laying beetle on fallen tree
Geographic location of the bug: Pollock Pines, California
Time: 07:49 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Bugman, I spotted this large-ish beetle on a fallen tree, sticking its ovipositor in crevices in the wood. What is this bug?
How you want your letter signed: John
This is a Metallic Borer Beetle or Jewel Beetle in the family Buprestidae, but we are not having any luck determining a species for you. Do you know what type of tree you sighted it upon?
You are correct. The Bark Beetles are responsible for the tree die-off. Jewel Beetles have larvae that bore in wood, but they are rarely numerous enough to create a problem.
Letter 31 – Sculptured Pine Borer
Subject: Concerned…bug found on my daughter
Geographic location of the bug: Ga
Time: 09:31 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Help…..is this an assassin bug or something else. ? It did not bite her. But upon research, I freaked about Chagas disease…
How you want your letter signed: CarriHowell
This Sculptured Pine Borer in the genus Chalcophora will most definitely NOT pass Chagas Disease to your daughter.
Letter 32 – Western Cedar Borer
Subject: Green Metallic Bug
Geographic location of the bug: Washington state
Time: 04:55 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: My son found this outside in our back yard. Is about 3/4″. Please help identify. We’ve never seen anything like this.
How you want your letter signed: Alicia Rinehart
Your images perfectly exemplify why Beetles in the family Buprestidae are known as Jewel Beetles or Metallic Borer Beetles. We have identified your individual as the Western Cedar Borer, Trachykele blondeli, thanks to this image on BugGuide.
Thank you so much Daniel!
You are most welcome Alicia. This is only the second example we have posted of this gorgeous Jewel Beetle.
I have never seen one before. Any idea if they cause any damage to trees? I’m trying to find more information.
They are native, so they have natural predators. We have not read anything about them being a serious threat to trees.
Letter 33 – Western Sculptured Pine Borer
Subject: Beetle or Fly
Geographic location of the bug: Mcminnville,Oregon
Time: 03:33 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Our family came across this bug, it was resting on new grounds trail post,near our local woods. We have searched for identical bugs. Nothing has came close to identification. This particular bug did not mind movement or noise as it stayed silent amd still on the fresh wooden post! Maybe a wood beetle? Since the trail post were fresh built, or imported bug on wood the carpenders gathered to build post?! Very interesting.
How you want your letter signed: To the rasmussen boys
Dear Rasmussen Boys,
This looks like a Western Sculptured Pine Borer, Chalcophora angulicollis, to us. According to BugGuide: “Dark brown to black, sculptures on upper side, irridescent bronze luster, especially on underside. Fly noisily when alarmed. The only western species in the genus.“
Letter 34 – Western Sculptured Pine Borer is hiking trail casualty
Subject: Large beetle in W. Montana
Geographic location of the bug: Outside Missoula, MT
Time: 12:55 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I’m very sorry to have to send you a “carnage” picture as my first submission but am very curious what kind of insect this is. It was stepped on by someone ahead of us on the trail in early June and is nearly two inches in length.
How you want your letter signed: Dylan
We much prefer images of living Western Sculptured Pine Borers than crushed ones. We are always amazed that people who claim to enjoy outdoor activities can have so little regard for life. Here is a BugGuide posting for reference.
Letter 35 – Jewel Beetle from Australia: Temognatha sanguinipennis
Subject: Jewel beatle?
Geographic location of the bug: Mornington Penninsula Vic Australia
Time: 08:41 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Hi Bug Man,l found this beetle on my deck. ls it a common beatle. l have lived in Rosebud Vic Australia for 25 years and an avid gardener. l have not seen it before.
How you want your letter signed: Thank you regards Kerri
This is indeed a Jewel Beetle or Metallic Borer Beetle in the family Buprestidae, and we believe we have correctly identified it as a Variable Jewel Beetle, Temognatha variabilis, thanks to images on the Brisbane Insect site. It is also pictured on Atlas of Living Australia.
Correction: May 29, 2020
Thanks to comments from Allen Sundholm and Kimberi Pullen, we are revising our prior identification in lieu of this being Temognatha sanguinipennis.
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 – Castiarina Jewel Beetles from Australia
Subject: Rare Castiarina Jewel Beetles from Tasmania, Australia
February 9, 2013 6:17 pm
I edited David Cowies Jewel Beetles of Tas. around 12 years ago. For the past few years local FieldNats have been looking for some subalpine spp and have located C. insculpta (in such numbers and over such a range that it will come off the threatened species register!), and C. rudis (photos on Flickr).
I am particularly interested in the inter-year emergence mention by Allen Sundholm on a Flickr page.
I would also like to let Shelley Barker know of our findings if you can help with that?
Signature: Don Hird
We thought you were providing us with a comment to a posting in our archives but our intrasite search only provided three matches for the genus Castiarina: Jewel Beetle from Australia in 2011, Jewel Beetle from Australia in 2010 and Unknown Beautiful Jewel Beetle from Australia in 2007. We could find no mention of Shelly Barker on our website. We will create a new posting for your submission.
OK, thanks Daniel.
Mostly I was hoping that you might have contact points for the two Australian Bupestrid authorities I mentioned
I could provide you with photos but identification is not particularly an issue for us at this stage.
Your site is a useful one given the unavailability of Allen Sundholm’s jewel beetle site, as another of your subscriber’s comments.
None of the folks you mentioned has ever submitted a photo to What’s That Bug?
They’re at the level of being possible providers of diagnostic advice, rather than asking I presume. Sundholm did maintain a bupestrid site that was authoritative and referred to on WTB.
Maybe my post is inappropriate as I can eventually contact them in some other way. It gets difficult because with so much nuisance communication people don’t readily divulge their contact details to legit enquirers.
Your site is highly commendable,