Monday, May 19, 2008

Jewel Beetle

Flat-headed Beetle or Metallic Wood-boring Beetle
Also known as Red-legged Buprestis

Jewel Beetle (Buprestis rufipes)

(Click for a closer look)

This one was walking down the trail and allowed me to get one photograph, then took off like a giant helicopter and vanished. It really did look like a jewel. Beautiful. I believe this is the only one I have ever seen.

Buprestidae is a family of beetles, known as jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring beetles because of their glossy iridescent colors. The family is among the largest of the beetles, with some 15,000 species known in 450 genera. The larger and more spectacularly colored jewel beetles are highly prized by insect collectors.

The shape is generally cylindrical or elongate to ovoid, with lengths ranging from 3 mm to an impressive 100 mm, although most species are under 20 mm. A variety of bright colors are known, often in complicated patterns. The iridescence common to these beetles is not due to pigments in the exoskeleton, but instead physical iridescence in which microscopic texture in their cuticle selectively reflects specific frequencies of light in particular directions. This is the same effect that makes a compact disc reflect multiple colors.

The larvae bore through roots, logs, stems, and leaves of various types of plants, ranging from trees to grasses. The wood boring types generally favor dying or dead branches on otherwise-healthy trees, while a few types attack green wood; some of these are serious pests capable of killing trees and causing major economic damage.

Larval Hosts: Members of this genus bore into such trees as:

Fagus - Beech
Populus - Cottonwood
Acer - Maple
Quercus - Oak
various Conifers

Not recorded in very many counties in Texas. Records for Tarrant county do exist.
This one was photographed last June at the Ft. Worth Nature Center and Refuge.

If you like this type of post, leave a comment and I will do others occasionally.



Shellmo said...

The colors on this beetle are beautifuly. Now the question is...does he bite? (just kidding)

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Wow, those colors are striking! Most beetles I have seen are black and boring, this is incredible!

fishing guy said...

Troy: What a great looking beetle and I like the description of the take-off. Great informative post.

Stacey Huston said...

Beautiful beetle.. so funny. I was in my yard last night photographing some flowers, and a small beetle lid on my hand and I once again found myself standing there studying this little creature.. if my youngest wouldn't have been getting ready for bed(school night) I would have called him to see it too... Have no clue what kind it was, but they are fascinating anyhow.. thanks so much for sharing

Daryl said...

Click for a closer look .. no thank you ... I am SO happy that today I stopped by BEFORE lunch rather than during .. LOL .. I am such a bug phobic person ...


Doug Taron said...

Great post and photo. This is a species I've never seen before. Most of the buprestids that we have here in Illinois are teeny. We do have a nice Acmaeodera. It's merely small.

Marvin said...

Well you know I like this type of post. :-)

We have similar Buprestids, but they're not nearly as brightly marked, just some boring white squiggles.

Sven said...

Good Job! :)