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Buprestid Beetle - Chrysobothris humilis - male

Buprestid Beetle - Chrysobothris humilis - Male
North of Cienega Creek, Pima County, Arizona, USA
April 10, 2007
Size: 4mm
Found on catclaw Acacia. Red is iridescence rather than opaque coloration.

Images of this individual: tag all
Buprestid Beetle - Chrysobothris humilis - male Buprestid Beetle - Chrysobothris humilis Buprestid Beetle - Chrysobothris humilis


Beautiful photographs...
...of what appears to be Chrysobothris axillaris. A couple things bother me about my ID, however. All of the specimens of that species that I have seen have more or less distinct reddish spots in the basal foveae of the elytra in addition to along the humeri - this individual lacks those spots. Also, C. axillaris has been associated exclusively with Quercus, although that does not preclude an individual from searching Acacia. A similar species - C. acaciae - is associated with Acacia, but it has the thorax and top of the head distinctly reddish also and, I believe, is not known from Arizona. I'm not familiar with any other species that looks like this, so for now I would go ahead and place it under C. axillaris, pending a more confident opinion.

Quercus-free zone
For what it's worth, Quercus does not occur where this specimen was found. The terrain where this specimen was photographed is limestone hills in the desert at too low an elevation for oaks. Primary foliage consists of mesquites, acacias, creosotes and Condalia.

Got it!
I asked Rick Westcott about this one. He says it is likely the male of Chrysobothris humilis, a species associated with Acacia.

This species exhibits one of the more extreme examples of sexual dichroism found in the family Buprestidae. Males (black with red humeral patches) mimic models of the beetle subfamily Clytrinae, while females (metallic green) do not. This gender-specific dichroism is thought to be a result of spatial partitioning of the habitat, with males more active in conspicuous locations and thereby experiencing selective pressures that females are able to avoid (Hespenheide 1976).

The species was described first from a female - the holotype (Museum of Comparative Zoology) can be seen here. The male was later described under another name - Chrysobothris cupreohumeralis - that holotype (California Academy of Sciences) can be seen here.

What makes it a Chrysobothris
What makes it a Chrysobothris?

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