Buprestidae of South Australia
( Jewel beetles )
by Peter J. Lang
Melobasis propinqua verna   (Hope, 1846)
subfamily  Buprestinae » tribe  Melobasini » subtribe  Melobasina
Melobasis  species group: propinqua
Melobasis propinqua verna   Adult images
Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0146A, PL0146B, male, on Pultenaea largiflorens, SL Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0457, female, on Dillwynia uncinata, MU, 11.6 × 3.9 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0149A, on Pultenaea acerosa (for photo), SL, 11.4 × 4.0 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3264, male, from Pultenaea tenuifolia, SE, 10.5 × 3.6 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL4598B, female, EP, reddish colour morph, 9.5 × 3.3 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0167, male, on Dillwynia hispida, EP, 8.0 × 2.7 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0835B, female, on Grevillea pterosperma, EP, 12.0 × 4.2 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0835B, female, EP, 12.0 × 4.2 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0147B, male, SL, 10.6 × 3.3 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, from Pultenaea largiflorens, SL, PL0149C & A & B Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0149A, on Pultenaea acerosa (for photo), SL, 11.4 × 4.0 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0149A, on Pultenaea acerosa (for photo), SL, 11.4 × 4.0 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0223, female, on Pultenaea acerosa, SL, 11.3 × 3.9 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0172B, male, on Pultenaea acerosa, SL, 10.2 × 3.4 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0172B, male, on Pultenaea acerosa, SL, 10.2 × 3.4 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0144, male, on Daviesia ulicifolia ssp. incarnata, SL, 10.8 × 3.8 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0144, male, on Daviesia ulicifolia ssp. incarnata, SL, 10.8 × 3.8 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0144, male, on Daviesia ulicifolia ssp. incarnata, SL, 10.8 × 3.8 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0144, male, on Daviesia ulicifolia ssp. incarnata, SL, 10.8 × 3.8 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0444, on Platylobium obtusangulum, SL Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0457, male, on Dillwynia uncinata, MU, 11.6 × 3.9 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0457, male, on Dillwynia uncinata, MU, 11.6 × 3.9 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0457, male, on Dillwynia uncinata, MU, 11.6 × 3.9 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0457, female, on Dillwynia uncinata, MU, 11.6 × 3.9 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL0009, MU, 11.7 × 3.9 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, SID427, on Diuris orientis, SL, photo by June Niejalke Melobasis propinqua verna, SID428, on Diuris orientis, SL, photo by June Niejalke Melobasis propinqua verna, SID 6649, on Dillwynia hispida, SL, photo by Clint Garrett
Actual
size¹:
10.8 mm
×
3.7 mm
Measurements (mm)
malefemale
L110.2
8 – 12.2
n = 4311.5
8.5 – 15.85
n = 37
L210.3
8.25 – 11.9
n = 1812.0
8.8 – 15.5
n = 20
W3.5
2.7 – 4.2
n = 434.0
3 – 5.55
n = 37
Legend  L1length from clypeus/frons to elytral apex (mean, range, sample size)
L2length from anterior of edge of eyes to elytral apex
Wmaximum width with elytra fully closed
Melobasis propinqua verna  Distinctive features

Readily distinguished from similar looking species by the coppery ventral side with coarse white hairs.

Notes

This species emerges early in spring and is usually found on the flowers of native Bush-peas and their relatives. To a much lesser extent it may also be found visiting non-leguminous flowers that are white and nectar-rich.

Distribution
SA Regions¹:  FREPNLMUYPSLKISE
Australian States:  SAVIC
Southern South Australia distribution
LegendP.J.Lang collection vouchered records
other private collection or museum specimens, or sightings
Satellite map
Terrain map
Enlarge map
Adult activity records for Melobasis propinqua verna  (total of 288 beetles)
4 1
7 21 25 25
108 19 43 15
2 13 1 2
2
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Legend
live emerged adults, count > median value of 13 per quarter month
live emerged adults, count <= median value of 13
live non-emerged adults only, for that quarter month
12
number of active beetles for that quarter month
Adult host plants
beetles sites SA regions¹ family position on host plant
Pultenaea daphnoides372SL, KIF
Pultenaea largiflorens334EP, SLF
Eutaxia microphylla322EPF
Pultenaea acerosa325EP, SL, KIF
Dillwynia hispida3011EP, MU, SL, SEF
Pultenaea tenuifolia175EP, SEF
Leptospermum coriaceum149EP, MUM
Pultenaea sp. Wanilla131EPF
Acacia myrtifolia102SLF
Pultenaea sp.92FR, SLF
Dillwynia sericea74SL, KIF
Leptospermum continentale41KIM
Leptospermum myrsinoides44SL, SEM
Daviesia brevifolia31EPF
Calytrix tetragona33EP, SL, KIM
Kunzea pomifera21KIM
Daviesia ulicifolia ssp. incarnata22SLF
Dillwynia uncinata22EP, MUF
Diuris orientis22SLO
Eutaxia sp.21NLF
Exocarpos cupressiformis21SLS
Hakea rostrata22SL, KIP
Leptospermum sp.22MU, SLM
Grevillea pterosperma21EPP
Platylobium obtusangulum22SLF
Acacia sp.11MUF
Beyeria lechenaultii11KIE
Conospermum patens11KIP
Daviesia asperula ssp. asperula11KIF
Exocarpos sparteus11MUS
Fabaceae sp.11SLF
Hakea mitchellii11KIP
Spyridium sp.11KIR
Spyridium subochreatum11MUR
Legendbeetlescount of beetles collected from, or sighted on, host plant taxon
sitescount of major sites (unique 10 km grid cells +/- some distinct approximate localities)
Plant family
Code beetles % host plant taxa
F Fabaceae 221 84% 13
M Myrtaceae 29 11% 5
P Proteaceae 6 2% 4
S Santalaceae 3 1% 2
O Orchidaceae 2 1% 1
R Rhamnaceae 2 1% 1
E Euphorbiaceae 1 0% 1
Position on adult host
positionbeetlessites
on flower(s)13420
on flowering plant7324
on foliage or non-flowering plant187
on plant (unspecified)4918
other
  on stems32
Melobasis propinqua verna Breeding record images
Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3821C, larva, in Eutaxia microphylla (PJL 3119) stem base, SE, photo by A.M.P. Stolarski, 19.2 × 4.0 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3825A, larva, from Pultenaea tenuifolia (PJL 3121) root crown, MU, 23.9 × 4.4 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3825A, larva, MU, 23.9 × 4.4 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3855, larva, from Pultenaea involucrata (PJL 3142) stem, dorsal, SL, 19.7 × 4.0 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3855, larva, from Pultenaea involucrata (PJL 3142) stem, ventral, SL, 19.7 × 4.0 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3855, larva, from Pultenaea involucrata (PJL 3142) stem, dorsal, SL, 19.7 × 4.0 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3855, larva, from Pultenaea involucrata (PJL 3142) stem, ventral, SL, 19.7 × 4.0 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3909, larva, from Eutaxia microphylla (PJL 3178) root crown, EP, 23.5 × 4.7 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL1668B, larva, in Pultenaea viscidula (PJL 2711) swollen stem base, dorsal, KI Melobasis propinqua verna, PL1668B, larva, in Pultenaea viscidula (PJL 2711) swollen stem base, ventral, KI Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3826A, prepupa, from Pultenaea tenuifolia (PJL 3122), dorsal & ventral, MU, 18.0 × 4.4 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3822, pupa, in Eutaxia microphylla (PJL3119) stem base, SE, photo by A.M.P. Stolarski Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3835x, pupa, from Pultenaea densifolia (PJL 3129), same pupa 4 days later on RHS, SE, 12.4 × 4.8 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3831B, male, reared adult, from Pultenaea tenuifolia root crown as pupa, SE, 10.7 × 3.7 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3856, non-emerged adult, in Pultenaea involucrata (PJL 3142) stem base, SL, 10.3 × 3.5 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3856, non-emerged adult, in Pultenaea involucrata (PJL 3142) stem base, SL, 10.3 × 3.5 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3856, non-emerged adult, in Pultenaea involucrata (PJL 3142) stem base, SL, 10.3 × 3.5 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3856, non-emerged adult, in Pultenaea involucrata (PJL 3142) stem base, SL, 10.3 × 3.5 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3900, non-emerged adult, in Pultenaea tenuifolia (PJL 3172) stem base, SE, photo by A.M.P. Stolarski, 11.1 × 3.8 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3913, female, non-emerged adult, from Pultenaea tenuifolia, (PJL 3180) root, SE, photo by A.M.P. Stolarski, 9.7 × 3.3 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL4546, non-emerged adult, in Eutaxia diffusa (PJL 3402) stem base, MU, photo by A.M.P. Stolarski, 12.9 × 4.1 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL4546, non-emerged adult, in Eutaxia diffusa (PJL 3402) stem base, MU, photo by A.M.P. Stolarski, 12.9 × 4.1 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL4544, non-emerged adult, in Eutaxia diffusa (PJL 3401) root, MU, photo by A.M.P. Stolarski, 13.0 × 4.3 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3828, male, dead non-emerged adult, from Pultenaea tenuifolia (PJL 3124) stem base, MU, 8.6 × 3.8 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3870A, dead non-emerged adult, in Pultenaea tenuifolia (PJL 3152) root crown, SE, 9.8 × 3.4 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3870A, dead non-emerged adult, in Pultenaea tenuifolia (PJL 3152) root crown, SE, 9.8 × 3.4 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3870A, dead non-emerged adult, in Pultenaea tenuifolia (PJL 3152) root crown, SE, 9.8 × 3.4 mm Melobasis propinqua verna, PL4067, dead non-emerged adult, in Eutaxia microphylla root crown, SE Melobasis propinqua verna, PL4067, dead non-emerged adult, in Eutaxia microphylla root crown, SE Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3962, dead non-emerged adult, in Eutaxia microphylla (PJL 3209) stem base 2020-04-25 08-29-55 (B)-4 edit crop 1.5, EP Melobasis propinqua verna, PL3962, male, dead non-emerged adult, from Eutaxia microphylla (PJL 3209) stem base, EP
Larval host plants
individuals sites SA regions¹ family adult liveadult deadadult ex pupapupalarva
Pultenaea tenuifolia357EP, MU, SEF7111214
Eutaxia microphylla209EP, MU, SEF36110
Pultenaea involucrata71SLF124
Eutaxia diffusa41MUF22
Pultenaea viscidula31KIF3
Dillwynia hispida32SEF111
Dillwynia sericea31SEF12
Dillwynia uncinata22EPF2
Pultenaea densifolia21SEF11
Pultenaea canaliculata21SLF2
Daviesia ulicifolia ssp. incarnata11MUF1
Pultenaea daphnoides11SLF1
Legendindividualscount of breeding adults, pupae and larvae
sitescount of major sites (unique 10 km grid cells +/- some distinct approximate localities)
adultlive = extracted alive;   dead = extracted dead as intact or fragmentary remains;   ex billet = reared and emerged from stored sections of host;   ex pupa = reared from sampled pupa
pupaextracted pupa;   pupa ex larva = reared pupa from larva
larvaextracted larva (any stage including prepupa)
gall (only)hatched or unhatched gall identified by form and position rather than contents
Plant family
Code individuals % host plant taxa
F Fabaceae 83 100% 12
Position in larval host
positionindividualssitesadult liveadult deadadult ex pupapupalarva
root85422
root crown33121141215
stem base2098516
stem333
unknown191021115
Host plant notes

Adult M. propinqua appear to be attracted by the brownish yellows and oranges of native pea flowers. This is evident from the fact that they are sometimes found on the similarly coloured flowers of the Wallflower Orchid Diuris orientis (see last two images in Adult images section above). Diuris is well recognised as a floral mimic of the Bush-peas (Beardsell et al. 1986, Indsto et al. 2005).

Based on collections made by me and/or A.M.P.Stolarski, Melobasis propinqua verna has so far been found breeding in 12 different larval host species from four different genera: Pultenaea (Bush-peas), Eutaxia, Dillwynia (Parrot-peas) and Daviesia (Bitter-peas). All these genera are currently placed in tribe Mirbelieae of family Fabaceae, and the first three genera are very closely related (Craigie et al. 2014). It is expected that M. propinqua would use many other species in this group as larval hosts.

The larvae are easily recognisable and and can be distinguished from those of other Melobasis species by their distinctive prosternal markings. These are likely to be diagnostic for the M. propinqua species group of Levey 2012, which is only represented in SA by a single species.

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
sizeThe ellipse is the correct size when printed, indicative on a desktop screen, and likely to be wrong on a mobile device.