16 September 2011

Roe’s Jewel Beetle - Stigmodera roei

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Roe’s Jewel Beetle - Stigmodera roei

Jewel Beetles belong to the Buprestidae family and contain some of the most colourful beetles; Roe's Jewel Beetle with its iridescent metallic hues in my opinion also falls into this category. It grows to around 2.5 cm (1”) in length making it one of the largest from non-tropical regions, where most invertebrates achieve their maximum size and greatest diversity.

Stigmodera roei is confined to Western Australia where only found in southern regions. It is named after John Septimus Roe (1797-1878), who was the WA Surveyor General and led an exploration expedition from Perth to the Esperance region in 1848, travelling inland (mallee region) on the way out and returning via the coast. During this nearly 3,000 km (1800 mile) journey, he discovered and named many local landmarks. In recognition of his efforts a number of plant and animals species have since been named after him.

Most local Jewel Beetles are encountered in the warmer inland mallee region and in this instance a highly floriferous district 110 km (70 miles) NW of Esperance. These areas are distinguished by their deep sand or gravel soils, which are less common in these regions, but nevertheless support many plant species. The above beetles were very common feeding on the flowers of Grevillea teretifolia and most shrubs had one or two of these spectacular insects totally absorbed in their feeding activity.