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.
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)
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.