15 July 2013

Temognatha duponti - Large Jewel Beetle 4

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Temognatha duponti - Large Jewel Beetle 4 

This is another of the large Jewel Beetles seen at a mass sighting near Lake Tay during February 2013, of which further details are available at http://esperancewildlife.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/temognatha-chevrolati-large-jewel.html and http://esperancewildlife.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/temognatha-heros-large-jewel-beetles.html.  This specific species was occasionally found in company with different species, but also encountered in small groups on their own. 

The most interesting aspect of Temognatha duponti was their temperament, which was aggressive and bombastic, and if there ever was a barrel chested beetle that won’t take crap from anyone, it would be this one. This attitude was reinforced by a solid bite to fingers when they got in the way whilst trying to restrain them, hence my side on grip. 

Temognatha duponti was also one of the larger beetles (5-6 cm or a little over 2” in length) and certainly the most robust that complimented their head down, bulldozing activity. Some beetles had a couple of variable length yellow/orange stripes on each hardened forewing (elytron), although most did not, however all had a black head segment (pronotum) and a dark maroon body (elytra). 

This species is mainly recorded from mallee environments to the south of Southern Cross (340 km or 210 miles ENE of Perth), but is also known from the Yorke Peninsula in SA. It is therefore presumed to occur in mallee regions between these sites, although being a poorly collected area has apparently not as yet been officially recorded. 

The 85 largely Australian species in the Temognatha genus, belong to Buprestidae the much larger worldwide Jewel Beetle family. 

My thanks to Kim Pullen of the Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences who kindly confirmed the identity this species.