19 October 2013

Temognatha murrayi - Blackbanded Jewel Beetle (6)

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Temognatha murrayi - Blackbanded Jewel Beetle (6)

This Jewel Beetle is the sixth posted here from the mass occurrence around Lake Tay in February 2013 (see earlier posts for details). It was quite common and well represented amongst other species feeding on the blossom of flowering eucalypts, with a number mating during the process. 

I found this beetle reasonably cooperative, permitting me to pick them up and although initially wriggling, soon settling down and in no hurry to fly off. Their size was around 4 cm (13/4”) in length. 

Temognatha murrayi is a WA endemic with most records south of a line from Geraldton to east of Kalgoorlie, but excluding the southwest corner of the State. It has also been recorded as far north as Marble Bar, so likely to exist in the intervening vast and largely uninhabited region. 

The problem obtaining good records of these large Jewel Beetles is they mostly occur at the hottest time of the year in remote regions, plus are apparently very fickle by appearing in large numbers some years, but none in others. Therefore you really need to be in the right place at the right time, which combined with the harsh environment and few people in those areas at that time of year, sightings are usually a case of accidental encounter.

Most of the larger beetles in the genus Temognatha were split from the Stigmodera genus. However both are prominent members of Buprestidae, the Jewel Beetle family. 

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