November 6, 2020
Ben here with today's #BenInNature update! This is Buprestis lineata, the lined buprestid beetle. The family Buprestidae is one of the largest beetle families, containing more than 15,000 known species in 775 genera!
What virtually all species of buprestid have in common is that their larvae bore into plants -- trees, shrubs, and even grasses -- and feed on sap. Many wood-boring species prefer dead or dying branches and don't present much danger to the host tree. However, a few of the wood-boring species prefer living trees and can do quite a bit of damage. The most famous of these is the invasive emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), which is native to northeast Asia and has done a great deal of damage to ash trees in North America and Europe.
Buprestids are also known as "jewel beetles," and many of the species -- particularly those in southeast Asia -- have beautiful metallic-looking multi-colored elytra (the hard shell that covers the flight wings). In fact, in countries such as Japan, Thailand, India, and China, people still practice the ancient tradition of beetlewing art, which incorporates buprestid elytra into paintings and jewelry!
Of course, it's unlikely that anyone is going to seek out the lined buprestid beetle to pull off its wings and make some art, but if I were a buprestid beetle, I'd certainly prefer to be a drab-colored one.
Social distancing can be difficult, but it presents a great opportunity to become reacquainted with nature. In this series of posts, Administrator of Science Ben Williams ventures outdoors to record a snapshot of the unique sights that can be found in the natural world. New updates are posted Monday - Friday, with previous posts highlighted on the weekends.
NATURE PHOTO IDENTIFICATIONS
If you discover something in nature that you would like help identifying, be sure to message us right here on Facebook with a picture (please include location and date of picture) and we'll have our experts help you identify it!