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Jewel of denial

January 5, 2019

Jewel Beetle (Castiarina sexplagiata)

For those among you who have claimed never to have seen a Jewel Beetle in our district, have a look in the flowering plants at the moment. Early in the New Year is the time when Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa) flowers i.e. right now. The nectar-laden flowers seem to be a magnet for insects, in particular beetles.

A half hour survey of a stand of this plant recently yielded over two dozen beetle species. Among the most striking are the Flower Chafer group of beetles e.g. the Fiddler Beetle, and a group collectively known as Jewel Beetles (Buprestidae family) of which there are about 1200 known species in Australia.

Jewel Beetle (Castiarina sp.)

Most Jewel Beetles are daytime nectar feeders especially on Eucalyptus and Leptospermum (Teatree) species and of course Sweet Bursaria. Some feed on leaves. They are usually very colourful, hence their name. The larvae are wood borers in live trees. Jewel Beetles can sometimes appear numbering in the thousands.

There’s no denying it. There are a few around at the moment.

P.S. If you like your insects bright and shiny check out this previous post.

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