First of all, I’d like to wish you a very happy and healthy 2020!
Last year I gave you this festive-looking beetle to try your hand at identifying:
It was a bit of a tricky one to get to species, since beetles are notorious for their huge diversity, plus they can vary in appearance quite significantly within a species.
James Bryant recognised this as a member of the Buprestidae, which is a family of wood-boring beetles that are commonly known as Jewel Beetles due to their metallic and iridescent colours. In fact, the wing cases (or elytra) of some of the most colourful of these beetles have been used in traditional beetlewing jewellery in the parts of Asia where they are found.
Going beyond the family, the identification katedmonson provided through a great cryptic clue was spot-on (assuming I understood it properly). This particular specimen is an example of Chrysochroa rajah Gory, 1840, but in the collection it is still labelled under the synonym C. chinensis.
This species is one of those with a wide distribution, several subspecies and a variety of different colours and patterns, which can make it hard to identify based on just an image of the overall body (or habitus as it’s referred to by entomologists). Just to give you an idea of what I mean, here’s an example of the same species in the National Museum, Prague:
So well done to katedmonson for getting this tricky identification. Look out for another mystery next week!
“Habitus”? Is this a more technical way of describing my slapdash “gestalt” attempts at identifying animals?