Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jewel Beetle or Metallic Wood Boring Beetle

While in Nova Scotia I spotted this motionless beetle on the ground. It appeared to resemble the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) so I put it in some alcohol and saved it until I was able to identify it with my library of wildlife books, or so I thought. Based on what little I know so far this beetle appeared to be much too large to be an EAB but I was curious none-the-less. Bugs of Ontario, by John Acorn and Ian Sheldon, ISBN 1-55105-287-3 most closely identified it with the Gold Dust Buprestid [Buprestis confluenta], although in the book the bug is much greener and much less metallic. The book states the length is 17 mm, and while comparing it with the dime in the photo I calculate this beetle to be 21 mm (13/16 in.) long. After further internet research it turns out that there are literaly 1000s of species of Buprestidae. There are many websites with pictures but none come close to identifying this bug. I so far have been able to confirm that the general term is either metallic wood-boring beetle or jewel beetle since they are known to be used to make jewelry particularly in southern countries. After digging further, and having subsequently found a copy of Field Guide to Insects of North America, Eric R. Eaton and Kenn Kaufman, ISBN 0-618-15310-7 -- that I must have bought recently since I didn't know I had it -- I was able to establish that it is very likely the Buprestis Lineata primarily by its shape and more even colouring. The book shows two variations one with gold strips which appears more common and one that is more evenly coloured like that photographed here.

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