What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Buprestidae Leach, 1815


Larvae usually feed in the wood (often in the phloem just beneath the bark) or root systems of trees or shrubs, but some feed in herbaceous stems or galls or mine leaves.


Heavily sclerotised, rigid beetles, usually elongate and brilliantly coloured with metallic sheen. Head more or less globular, deflexed, and deeply sunk into prothorax, which is closely applied to elytra; antennae short and usually serrate, eyes large, reniform and not very protuberant; mesosternum with large cavity for reception of prosternal process; metasternum with well-marked transverse suture; tarsi with membranous lobes beneath segments 1--4 and no empodium; abdominal tergites heavily sclerotised; first 2 ventrites solidly fused, suture between them indistinct or incomplete; aedeagus distinctive in having the phallobase fused to parameres and latter partly or completely fused together; Malpighian tubules cryptonephridic (unique in Elateriformia).

Larvae soft bodied, with prothorax markedly expanded and flattened (except in minute, leaf miners); antennae very short; abdominal apex simple or bearing paired appendages on segment 10 (Agrilinae). Adults are active in hot weather and will readily fly in sunlight; they often occur in nectar-bearing flowers.


The Australian fauna of jewel beetles includes members of about half of the subfamilies and tribes known for the world; these are keyed out by Bellamy (1986). The Polycestinae include, among others, Astraeus and Prospheres , while Mastogeniinae are represented by Helferella . Among the Chalcophorinae are the primitive, conifer-feeding Diadoxus and Araucariana , the large tropical Cyphogastra and Pseudotaenia , and the largest of Australian buprestids, Julodimorpha bakewelli , a mallee species most common in W.A. and known for its habit of congregating around 'stubby' beer bottles (Gwynn and Rentz 1983). The Buprestinae include Bubastes , Nascio , Melobasis and Curis plus the Stigmoderini ( Stigmodera , Themognatha , Castiarina and their relatives), containing almost half of the described species. Stigmodera are often aposematically coloured, and these and other members of the family often contain bitter chemicals called buprestins (Brown et al. 1985; Moore and Brown in press). Among the Chrysobothrinae are Chrysobothris and Merimna atrata , which is known as the fire beetle, because of its habit of flying to burnt trees. The Agrilinae is a large group of smaller species, some of which are gall-makers; the largest included genus is Cisseis . The Trachyinae include small leaf miners in Habroloma and Trachys . [Barker 1986; Carnaby 1987; Carter 1929; J. A. Gardner 1990; Hawkeswood 1985; Hawkeswood and Peterson 1982.]

  • Castiarina paralleipennis

  • Cisseis sp.

  • Calodema plebeia

  • Metaxymorpha gloriosa

  • Merimna atrata

  • Chalcophorotaenia australasiae

  • Cyria imperialis

  • Stigmodera jaquinotii

  • Stigmodera tibialis