Tag Archives: Buprestidae

Our beetle this week isn't showing off its colors.

This is a metallic wood-boring beetle, family Buprestidae. They are sometimes called jewel beetles because many members of the family are brightly-colored and shiny. If you look closely, you might see the one above has some gold/green on the ridges of its hind wings (elytra) and on its legs, but otherwise it is rather dull.

In comparison, some members of its family look like this:

(Public domain photograph from Wikimedia)

The colors aren't due to pigments in the exoskeleton, but instead the beetles appear metallic or iridescent because the fine texturing of their outer surface scatters light.

Regardless of their colors, many adult beetles of the family Buprestidae have cylindrical or bullet-shaped bodies.

The larvae are grubs that bore through the wood of trees, hence the name "wood-boring." Most prefer to eat injured, dead, or dying trees. For that reason, people are likely find them in or around fire wood.

Have you ever found a jewel beetle?

Children want to learn more about beetles? Try the lovely picture book, A Beetle Is Shy by Dianna Hutts Aston and illustrated by the fabulous Sylvia Long.

Age Range: 5 - 8 years
Publisher: Chronicle Books (April 5, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1452127123
ISBN-13: 978-1452127125

 

Disclosure: This book was provided by my local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

2 Comments

These beetles are commonly called jewel beetles, or metallic wood borers.

Buprestid

The family name is Buprestidae, so they may be called buprestids as well.

buprestid-3

Aren't they colorful? Do you think they are trying to mimic wasps?

It turns out that some of these beetles even fly with their top wings (elytra) closed and only use their membranous underwings to fly. Most beetles, for example our common lady beetles, fly with their elytra up and opened. By flying with their elytra closed, the buprestid beetles look even more like wasps.

The buprestids in these photographs were feeding on flowers in Ramsey Canyon, in southeastern Arizona. These are probably in the Genus Acmaeodera, although it is very difficult to tell one from another.