Jewel Beetles (Buprestidae)

Jewel beetles are beetles known for their beautiful elytra and overall shiny appearance. There are over 15,500 species in this family that are distributed globally.

Common Beetles Belonging to this Family

  • Emerald Ash Borer Beetle (Agrilus planipennis)
  • Spotworm Borer Beetle (Agrilus acutipennis)
  • Oak Twig Girdler Beetle (Oncideres cingulata)
  • Black Fire Beetle (Melanophila acuminata)
  • Bronze Birch Borer Beetle (Agrilus anxius)
  • Goldspotted Oak Borer Beetle (Agrilus coxalis)
  • Acacia Flat-headed Jewel Beetle (Agrilus australasiae)
  • Metallic Wood Boring Beetle (Chalcophora virginiensis)
  • Oak Splendor Beetle (Agrilus biguttatus)
  • Two-lined Chestnut Borer Beetle (Agrilus bilineatus)
  • Dogwood Cambium Borer Beetle (Agrilus cephalicus)
  • Hawthorn Agrilus Beetle (Agrilus sinuatus)
  • Rose Stem Girdler Beetle (Agrilus cuprescens)
  • Vine Jewel Beetle (Agrilus derasofasciatus)
  • Honeylocust Agrilus Beetle (Agrilus difficilis)
  • Persimmon Agrilus Beetle (Agrilus fuscipennis)
  • Granulate Poplar Beetle (Agrilus granulatus)

Scientific Classification

These beetles are separated into subfamilies, divided into several tribes consisting of genera.

1. Agrilinae

  • Agrilus
  • Anodontodora
  • Asymades
  • Brachys
  • Chalcophlocteis
  • Discoderoides
  • Entomogaster
  • Ethiopoeus
  • Madecorformica
  • Meliboeus
  • Pachyschelus
  • Paracylindromorphus
  • Paradorella
  • Pseudokerremansia
  • Strandietta
  • Burmagrilus

2. Buprestinae

  • Agrilozodes
  • Anthaxia
  • Bubastoides
  • Buprestis
  • Calodema
  • Castiarina
  • Chrysobothris
  • Colobogaster
  • Conognatha
  • Eurythyrea
  • Hiperantha
  • Metaxymorpha
  • Stigmodera
  • Temognatha

3. Chrysochroinae

  • Capnodis
  • Chalcophora
  • Chrysochroa
  • Chrysodema
  • Euchroma
  • Halecia
  • Lampetis
  • Lampropepla
  • Perotis
  • Psiloptera

4. Galbellinae

  • Galbella

5. Julodinae

  • Aaata
  • Amblysterna
  • Julodella
  • Julodis
  • Neojulodis
  • Sternocera

6. Polycestinae

  • Acmaeodera

Physical Description and Identification


Size: 0.12 to 3.15 in (0.3-8 cm); the average is 0.79 in (2 cm)

Color: Varied; all beetles in this family have a metallic sheen on their elytra, giving them an iridescent appearance.

Other Characteristic Features:They are generally cylindrical or ovoid.


Nicknamed “flatheaded borers”, the larvae are cream-colored with an enlarged head.


Pupation occurs inside the host plant, within chambers excavated during the larval stage.


Females lay their eggs on the surface of the host plant so that on hatching, the larvae can begin burrowing into the wood.

Quick Facts

Other names Metallic wood-boring beetles
Lifespan 3 weeks
Distribution Worldwide
Habitat Farmlands, forests, gardens, jungles, and woodlands
Predators Birds, lizards, frogs, and toads
Seasons active Spring to early Summer
Host Plants Ash, fir, hemlock, pine, spruce, etc
Diet of adults Leaves, nectar, roots, stems

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

Some of these beetles, like the emerald ash borer, can cause massive damage to trees by chewing on their host plants’ roots, stems, or leaves. This can lead to considerable losses to orchards and crops.

Did You Know

  • English zoologist William Elford Leach, MD, FRS, first described these beetles in 1815.
  • Jewel beetles are very popular with collectors due to their appearance. Their elytra are often used in jewelry, commonly referred to as ‘beetlewing’ art.