Buprestidae of South Australia
( Jewel beetles )
by Peter J. Lang
Melobasis abnormis   Carter, 1923
subfamily  Buprestinae » tribe  Melobasini » subtribe  Melobasina
Melobasis  species group: abnormis
Melobasis abnormis   Adult images
Melobasis abnormis, AMS, female, on Pittosporum angustifolium, photo by Allen Sundholm, leg. Fiona Murdoch in VIC Melobasis abnormis, AMS, female, on Pittosporum angustifolium, photo by Allen Sundholm, leg. Fiona Murdoch in VIC Melobasis abnormis, AMS, female, photo by Allen Sundholm, leg. Fiona Murdoch in Vic
Melobasis abnormis  Distinctive features

Surface of elytra glabrous and irregularly rugose, appearing wrinkled. Short, broad convex shape. Drab bronze-silver colouration.

Notes

Although attributed to SA on the Australian Fauna Directory, no definite records from SA have been ascertained. However, it is almost certain to occur here given recent collections in north-western Victoria from a host plant and habitat type that are both well represented in SA. The Holotype specimen is purportedly from WA, and that location needs verification.

In north-western Victoria it was first collected in 1922 from Linga which is only 67 km east from the SA border. In September 2020 it was 'rediscovered' by F. Murdoch at a site south of Mildura and about 130 km east of the SA border.

Distribution
SA Regions¹:  MU?
Australian States:  WASA?VICQLD
Host plant notes

Wilson 1936 reported cutting a single dead adult of this species from the trunk of a 'sandalwood tree' in 1922 on the shores of a salt lake in the centre of the Little Desert to the south of Kiata, Vic. There is a corresponding specimen in the National Museum of Victoria (from Linga) and its identity as M. abnormis is not in doubt. Based on the common name of the plant mentioned by Wilson 1936 and also written on the specimen label, the breeding host was presumed to be a species of Santalum, with Quandong, S. acuminatum the most likely candidate. However, the 2020 collections were taken from Pittosporum angustifolium which is a small tree of similar appearance that Wilson might easily have referred to as a sandalwood. A specimen was observed in captivity ovipositing on stems of P. angustifolium (see third image above), and this was confirmed by sightings of the eggs (A.M. Sundholm, 2020, pers. comm.).

¹ LegendregionsSA State Herbarium regions (map)
EA: Eastern, EP: Eyre Peninsula, FR: Flinders Ranges, GT: Gairdner-Torrens, KI: Kangaroo Island, LE: Lake Eyre, MU: Murray, NL: Northern Lofty, NU: Nullarbor, NW: North-Western, SE: South-Eastern, SL: Southern Lofty, YP: Yorke Peninsula