Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Agrilus prionurus - Soapberry Borer

Metallic woodboring beetle? - Agrilus prionurus Agrilus prionurus Chevrolat - Agrilus prionurus - male Agrilus prionurus Chevrolat - Agrilus prionurus Soapberry Borer - Agrilus prionurus Soapberry Borer - Agrilus prionurus Soapberry Borer - Agrilus prionurus
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
No Taxon (Series Elateriformia)
Superfamily Buprestoidea (Metallic Wood Boring Beetles)
Family Buprestidae (Metallic Wood-boring Beetles)
Subfamily Agrilinae
Tribe Agrilini
Genus Agrilus
Species prionurus (Soapberry Borer)
Explanation of Names
Agrilus prionurus Chevrolat 1838
prionurus = 'saw-tailed' (refers to the dentate elytral tips)
markings distinctive; shiny black, with 4 small white spots on elytra
native to Mexico & AZ(2), recently reported from eastern half of TX - Map (3)
host: Western Soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii) - Ranges from AZ to LA to KS / n. Mex. (US range)
Life Cycle
Female lays eggs just under the bark; larva feeds on cambium. A heavily infested tree may be completely girdled. Grown larvae bore into the wood to complete development; adult exits from a D-shaped exit hole.
Infested trees can be easily recognized as the bark falls away, leaving the sapwood exposed. Bark chips may accumulate at the base of the tree. Infested tree is doomed; tree removal & mulching is recommended to destroy insects inside and prevent spreading.
earliest record in our area: TX 2003(4)
Print References
Billings R.F., Pase H.A. (2009) Soapberry borer infestations found in 33 counties in Texas. Full text
Wellso, S.G. and J.A. Jackman. 2006. A new species of Anthaxia (Haplanthaxia) Reitter (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) and new North American buprestid distributional and host records. The Pan-Pacific Entomologist 82(2): 262-268.
Internet References
Texas Entomology - Quinn 2012
Pest alert - Billings & Pase, 2008