The brush jewel beetle is one of the weirdest insects in the world. With dazzling colors and intricate patterns, they have captivated scientists and collectors for centuries. Their unique adaptations have helped them survive and thrive in some of the harshest environments on earth. In this article, we will uncover the fascinating world of brush jewel beetles and discover what makes them so special.
1. They look like a brush
The brush jewel beetle is a member of the Buprestidae family which is also known as the jewel beetle family. This is the biggest beetle family in the world with more than 15000 species.
Despite being one among many, the brush jewel beetle stands out due to its remarkable appearance. These creatures have a torpedo-shaped body with 6 legs. Their hard, glossy blue-green exoskeleton is adorned with yellowish-orange wax-coated hairs that pierce its surface. They possess the highest amount of hair among all beetle species.
This gives them the appearance of a brush with yellow-orange bristles. As the result, the creatures earn the name. Their colorful hairs are used to warn off predators by telling them that the beetles are toxic.
These insects have a size of about 20 – 50 mm in length.
The brush jewel beetles prefer to reside in hot environmental habitats, such as forests, woodlands, and savannas. These species are mainly found in South Africa. They are commonly observed fluttering over flowers.
Brush jewel beetles are herbivores. The adult beetles consume a herbivorous diet consisting of pollen, nectar, and foliage. They also consume bark when alternate food sources are scarce.
Jewel beetle larvae primarily feed on sapwood of shrubs and trees, with some species’ larvae eating leaves or galls. However, we still don’t know which specific food source brush jewel beetle caterpillars consume.
4. Life cycle
The brush jewel beetle, like other members in the family, goes through a complete metamorphosis that comprises four different phases: egg, caterpillar, pupa, and adult.
Upon hatching, the larvae burrow into tree wood and plant stems to undergo the pupa phase. After emerging, the adults have a relatively short lifespan (about 7 months), during which they eat, mate, and ultimately pass away.