Buprestid Beetle - Agrilus cyanescens
Family Buprestidae - Woodboring Beetles

Agrilus is the largest genus in the family, with over 170 species.  Beetles Index
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Wood Borer Beetle - Agrilus
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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.
Buckthorn highlights:
  • Out-competes native plants for nutrients, light, and moisture
  • Degrades wildlife habitat
  • Threatens the future of forests, wetlands, prairies, and other natural habitats
  • Contributes to erosion by shading out other plants that grow on the forest floor
  • Serves as host to other pests, such as crown rust fungus and soybean aphid
  • Forms an impenetrable layer of vegetation
  • Lacks "natural controls" like insects or disease that would curb its growth [2]
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.

Metallic Woodboring Beetles
  1. Bugguide.net, Family Buprestidae
  2. Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources, "Buckthorn"
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Order Coleoptera: Beetles are the dominant form of life on earth: one of every five living species is a beetle. Coleoptera is the largest order in the animal kingdom, containing a third of all insect species. There are about 400,000 known species worldwide, ~30,000 of which live in North America.  Beetles live in nearly every habitat, and for every kind of food, there's probably a beetle species that eats it.
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