How many shiny green beetles do you know? Do you see them quite often, perhaps in your garden but can’t place a name to them? In this editorial, we explore some of the most common types of green beetles you’ll likely encounter.
Beetles, when pitched against other living organisms, live in the most varied habitats and ecosystems. With over 350,000 insects of the Coleoptera order (along with weevils), beetles are easily the most colossal group of animals parading this planet.
As excited as you are to learn about the order of beetles, this isn’t an exhaustive list. The article will focus on the types of green beetles you can find crawling under debris or flying in mid-air. With a distinct hue, these shiny green beetles are magnificent to behold and exudes an enchanting iridescent glow.
Are you ready to dive into the boundless arena of shiny green beetles? Put your ‘open-minded’ cap on and get ready to learn about 10 different types of beetles with lush, metallic-like green hues.
Types of Shiny Green Beetles
To you, a valued and supportive reader, as time progresses, and more research becomes available, more shiny green beetles will be added to this list. Let’s jump into our list.
Green June Beetle
Green June Beetle (Cotinis nitida)
Enclosed in a metallic green exterior, about 1/2-inch broad, green June beetles can easily mature into an inch-long insect. Their coating is almost velvety green with brilliant metallic colors radiating on the underside.
As their moniker suggests, Cotinis nitida emerges in June and July to terrorize unsuspecting souls and feed on overripe fruits like peaches. Their larvae haunt turfgrass, vegetation, and ornamental flowers where they gorge on food supplies to mature into even bigger menaces.
These shiny green beetles are communal insects and emerge in groups. In fact, their strong audible buzzing as they cruise across the sky might be terrifying to some, especially when there’s an aversion to insects.
Green June beetles are often mistaken with Japanese beetles. These are two different insects.
Green Metallic Tiger Beetle (Cicindela Sexguttata)
If you’ve never heard of a hunter beetle, this is a moment of revelation. The green metallic tiger beetle has six white specks or spots on its elytra (some tiger beetles may carry two additional specks or none). This shiny green beetle commutes on long, skinny legs, with distinctive white fur. Their eyes tend to ‘pop’ or protrude, with thin-out antennae and a huge mouthpart.
Much like tigers, these beetles are fast hunters, and will chop down just about any small insect that stumbles on its path. Rather than wait for its prey on the ground, green metallic tiger beetles sit high on plants where they can be stealthy, inconspicuous predators.
It’s all about gaining that additional leverage by becoming one with their environment. If ever threatened, the unpleasant odor secreted gives evidence of such.
Green metallic tiger beetles are most energetic during the daytime, about early spring to late summer. Some tiger beetles also prowl at night. This is the case with the Carolina tiger beetle. Interestingly, this is a more social tiger beetle that enjoys hounding prey in a pack. If a mere tiger beetle is deadly to small insects, one can hardly imagine the game they’d catch when working together.
Tiger beetle larvae are just as predatory as their adult counterparts. They mainly lie in wait and trap prey in narrow tunnels as they pass by.
Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis)
The emerald ash borer, or EAB, is a shiny green beetle native to northeastern Asia. To date, it’s labeled as one of America’s most destructive forest insects, as it threatens the ash tree’s existence.
EAB belongs to the family of Buprestidae of the order Coleoptera. Adult EABs are about half of an inch in length and one-eighth of an inch in width.
Although their exterior wears a green metallic hue, an opened forewing reveals a purple shimmery abdomen. There’s no distinction between appearance in male and female EABs.
Wood-boring beetles are often confused with EABs, but these are mere doppelgangers and not the same bug. Before seeking out a mate to copulate, emerald ash beetles will feed for at least two weeks on ash leaves. Adult feeding is damaging to ash trees, but not as devastating as their larvae are. Immediately after eggs open, larvae pierce into different tiers of the tree.
Forest Caterpillar Hunter (Calosoma sycophanta)
The forest caterpillar hunter is a species of ground beetles. The exterior of these shiny green beetles stick out like a sore thumb, often showing glitters of brown, red, or yellow (oftentimes a combination). The forest caterpillar hunter is native to Europe but was introduced to curtail gypsy moths in New England.
Forest caterpillar hunter beetles are ravenous consumers of caterpillars, not only as larvae but as adults. It’s about 25 to 30mm long, with sharp claws that allow them to crawl underneath stones and debris. As part of the ground beetle family, forest caterpillar hunters are designated as one of the biggest representatives.
These metallic beetles are nocturnal, and although possess the ability to fly, hardly use this skill. Calosoma sycophanta are among the few species of beetles that ascend trees in pursuit of prey. At the moment, these caterpillar hunters don’t pose a negative threat to the economy. Rather, they’re great options to control the destructive gypsy moth.
Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica)
In the United States alone, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent yearly to curtail the destructive Japanese beetle. As one of the most polyphagous plant-eaters, these shiny green beetles gorge on some 300 species of plants. In no time, these invasive insects can defoliate plants and consume their fruits or flowers.
Adult Japanese beetles wear an elliptical form and are about 8 to 11 mm long. On both sides of the abdomen, five patches of white hair can be seen. Females are often bigger than males.
Japanese beetles may live up to a year, and adults ascend from around June to August. The female, after emergence, sends out mating pheromones to lure ‘thirsty’ males in. They then converge on food plants, where all the sexual activities take place. Adults are ravenous consumers of roses, ripening fruits, and berries.
After mating and feeding, pregnant females seek out moist turf and agricultural fields where they dig to deposit their eggs.
Golden Green Stag Beetle (Lamprima latreillii)
Stag beetles are cloaked in a shiny golden-green exterior. It’s a majestic beauty to behold, as its form emits a radiant golden hue. Some stag beetles wear a golden appearance, while others get by with their brown or black color. Rainbow stag beetles (Phalacrognathus Muelleri) are also common features, wearing a rich hue of dark metallic green, with vibrant rainbow exteriors.
Some stag beetles grow up to 6 cm long, while others are smaller. Male stag beetles have enlarged pincers. You’d think these huge mandibles are ideal tools for feeding, but that’s far from the case. Their pincers are used in battle, as they commonly war over females and territory. During a mandible fisticuff, each male stag tries to uproot the other by lifting it in the air.
As nurturing homemakers, stag beetles spend time spreading their roots in rotten logs and beneath clammy leaves in the soil where cute babies are housed.
Although there exist some 1200 species of stag beetles worldwide, and some 85 alone in Australia, their habitat is greatly threatened. The broad-tooth stag beetle in Tasmania, for example, is faced with extinction. If you do come across a stag beetle in its natural habitat, please let it be.
Lilly Pilly Beetle (Paropsides calypso)
This northern New South Wales invasive beetle has a knack for lilly pillies, hence the name. These beetles can be found across Queensland, Victoria, and Australia.
The lilly pilly beetle resembles the lady beetle in size and shape but has a slight shiny green exterior without spots. There’s not much known about this beetle, as it was recently determined a pest to one of the most popular plants in Australia.
Much like the adults, grubs are light green in appearance and icky when touched. These shiny green beetles are avid feeders so while you admire them when spotted, don’t forget to remove them, or watch your plants succumb to their gnawing.
Glorious Beetle (Chrysina gloriosa)
This glorious scarab has a dark green, shimmery exterior with silver lines on its wing cover. The most unique US native beetle can grow up to 28 milliliters long. They prefer to live in higher areas where they can snack on juniper leaves, while larvae survive on disintegrated hardwoods.
For this genus of beetles, females take the lead in body mass, and are the larger of the sexes. While most glorious beetles seem to have brown or black eyes, these shiny green beetles have light blue eyes.
Green Tortoise Beetle (Cassida viridis)
A distinctive feature of the green tortoise beetle is its ability to mimic a tortoise when frightened. It drags its feet and antennae in, and then crouches to shield itself. It’ll also grip the leaf as firm as possibly can.
These types of beetles frequent gardens, where they make a meal out of water mints, dead-nettles, and hedge woundworts. Although the green tortoise beetle made the shiny green beetle list, they aren’t as shimmery or majestic as the glorious beetle.
Their bodies appear rounded and flattened, which gives them a better fighting chance when gripping leaves to shelter themselves. They are about 4 to 6 mm in size.
Dead-Nettle Leaf Beetle (Chrysolina fastuosa)
The dead-nettle leaf beetle wears the rainbow on its exterior, but with a dominant metallic green hue. It’s a small beetle (grows up to 6mm) and frequents areas near streams and marshlands. It’s a common sight throughout Asia Minor, Europe, Siberia, the UK, and Japan.
The dead-nettle leaf beetle prefers the dead nettle as a host plant, but will flock to others, including hedge nettle, self-heal, hemp nettle, and woolly hedge-nettle. Obviously, these beetles stick to plants in the Lamiaceae family.
This shiny green metallic beetle isn’t picky about the season, as it’s active all year round. However, their activities increase from June to September. Only a single generation of the dead-nettle leaf beetle exists each year.
Around April, dead-nettle beetles will rear their colorful heads to replenish their bodies with plant nutrients and then mate. In extreme cases, they’d strip plants of their clothing along leaf veins, or leave small holes in foliage.
Did you find the green beetle you’re looking to identify? If not, you may consider reading this article.
Types of Shiny Green Beetles, Conclusion
Phew… that was a lot to digest, don’t you think?
Did you enjoy reading about shiny green beetles? As mentioned, we will continue updating the list to provide more value.
Beetles are diverse insects and may even be collected as a hobby or kept as pets. If you commonly spot beetles as you commute or even in your backyard, we’d love to upload those photos to a collection that can be viewed by everyone who visits the site.
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Encyclopaedia of Insects, Second Edition