|Buprestid Beetle - Agrilus cyanescens|
Family Buprestidae - Woodboring Beetles
Agrilus is the largest genus in the family, with over 170 species. Beetles Index
Native to western Europe and East Asia, this beetle was introduced into North America circa 1920 and now enjoys extensive range. Its host plants include honesuckle (Lonicera), snowberry, and buckthorn. Buckthorn and honeysuckle are two invasive plants wreaking extensive damage to the understory in North American forests, crowding out native plants and choking the forest floor with impenetrable thickets of foliage. In the case of the noxious weed buckthorn, the foliage can become so thick the shaded forest floor can support no other plants and comes to resemble a dirt billiard table. I have managed to take most invasions in stride (there's little we can do about it), but buckthorn is my pet peeve.
There are over 700 species of Buprestidae in North America. Buprestid beetles can be enormously destructive insects. Buprestid larvae are called "flatheaded borers". They live in bark, wood, and sometimes the leaves of various plants. Currently, the Emerald Ash Borer is the Buprestid of the moment here in the American Midwest. Larvae of the EAB destroy the cambium layer with tunneling and are currently eating their way through the ash trees (Fraxinus) of North America.
Identifying characteristics for the family Buprestidae include: First abdominal sternite entire, not divided by hind coxae (suborder Polyphaga), Hard bodied, elongate-slender to elongate-robust beetles, ranging from 2 to 40 mm in length. Many species metallic or bronzed in appearance, especially on the ventral surface. Antennae usually short and sawtoothed.
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