Bug of the Week: Jewel Beetles

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


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


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.


  1. Ted C. MacRae

    Yes, these are both in the genus Acmaeodera. The look like A. amabilis (top) and A. amplicollis, although a positive ID would need to be based on the actual specimens.

    Not only do they fly with their elytra closed, but they elytra are actually fused – the can’t open them! Wasp mimicry is the widely-held belief for this.

  2. Roberta

    Thanks for the information, Ted.

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