Buprestidae of South Australia
( Jewel beetles )
by Peter J. Lang
Melobasis splendida   (Donovan, 1805)
subfamily  Buprestinae » tribe  Melobasini » subtribe  Melobasina
Melobasis  species group: purpurascens
Melobasis splendida   Adult images
Melobasis splendida, PL3766A, male, on Beyeria lechenaultii, MU, 10.2 × 3.8 mm Melobasis splendida, PL1628C, on Beyeria lechenaultii, KI Melobasis splendida, PL1633, on Beyeria lechenaultii, KI Melobasis splendida, PL1628A, male, on Beyeria lechenaultii, KI, 7.9 × 3.0 mm Melobasis splendida, PL4029, female, MU, 11.2 × 4.2 mm Melobasis splendida, PL0947, female, on Beyeria lechenaultii, MU, 10.9 × 4.3 mm Melobasis splendida, PL0947, female, on Beyeria lechenaultii, MU, 10.9 × 4.3 mm Melobasis splendida, PL3576B, male, from Beyeria lechenaultii, EP, 8.9 × 3.5 mm Melobasis splendida, PL2994, male, from Beyeria lechenaultii, SL, 8.6 × 3.2 mm Melobasis splendida, PL4437, male, on Beyeria lechenaultii, MU, 9.0 × 3.5 mm Melobasis splendida, KI Melobasis splendida, DAY135, from Beyeria lechenaultia, KI, 8.8 × 3.7 mm Melobasis splendida, PL1628A, male, on Beyeria lechenaultii, KI, 7.9 × 3.0 mm Melobasis splendida, PL1628A, male, on Beyeria lechenaultii, KI, 7.9 × 3.0 mm Melobasis splendida, PL1628C, on Beyeria lechenaultii, KI Melobasis splendida, PL2994, adult host plant, host Beyeria lechenaultii, SL, 8.6 × 3.2 mm
Actual
size¹:
9.5 mm
×
3.6 mm
Measurements (mm)
malefemale
L18.9
6.8 – 10.15
n = 1910.4
9.1 – 11.4
n = 15
L28.8
7.8 – 9.95
n = 1510.1
8.9 – 11.15
n = 13
W3.4
2.5 – 3.8
n = 194.0
3.5 – 4.55
n = 15
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 splendida  Distinctive features

Head, pronotum, ventral side and legs predominantly green, pronotum with some bronze to brown colouration on either side of the median line; elytra red, maroon or purple, variably patterned with three main vittae or lacunae of green or blue.

Notes

The type of this species described in 1805 is designated as from 'New Holland' and is likely to have been collected from near the east coast. The forms in SA and other areas away from the higher rainfall parts of eastern Australia tend to be larger and differ in their host plant specificity. They most likely represent a distinct species or subspecies.

Distribution
SA Regions¹:  FREPMUYPSLKISE
Australian States:  SAVICNSWQLD
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 splendida  (total of 58 beetles)
2
2 9
3 19 2 2
5 3 1
8 1
1
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Legend
live emerged adults, count > median value of 2 per quarter month
live emerged adults, count <= median value of 2
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
Beyeria lechenaultii4011EP, MU, SL, KIE
Acacia uncifolia52KIF
Eucalyptus rugosa41KIM
Callitris gracilis32MUC
Acacia triquetra22KIF
Melaleuca lanceolata22KIM
Callitris sp.11MUC
Leptospermum coriaceum11MUM
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
E Euphorbiaceae 40 69% 1
M Myrtaceae 7 12% 3
F Fabaceae 7 12% 2
C Cupressaceae 4 7% 1
Position on adult host
positionbeetlessites
on flower(s)11
on flowering plant73
on foliage or non-flowering plant4312
on plant (unspecified)74
Melobasis splendida Breeding record images
Melobasis splendida, PL3859, larva, from Beyeria lechenaultii, stem (PJL 3145), MU, 19.0 × 4.2 mm Melobasis splendida, PL3859, larva, from Beyeria lechenaultii, stem (PJL 3145), MU, dorsal & ventral, 19.0 × 4.2 mm
Larval host plant
individuals sites SA regions¹ family adult livepupalarva
Beyeria lechenaultii73MUE115
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
E Euphorbiaceae 7 100% 1
Position in larval host
positionindividualssitesadult livepupalarva
stem73115
Host plant notes

The high incidence of adult records on Pale Turpentine-bush, Beyeria lechenaultii suggested that this might be a larval host also, and led to targeted searching. A.M.P. Stolarski eventually discovered a pupa and a live non-emerged adult in the stem of this species on 19 November 2017.

The smaller form from eastern Australia seems much less specific in its larval and adult host plants and is known to breed in a number of Acacia and Eucalyptus species Bellamy et al. 2013.

Consistent with the host plant association evidence presented on this web page, Goudie 1920 reported that 'M. splendida is fairly common, but it is only taken on the Turpentine or Rosin-bush, Beyeria viscosa of this district '. According to the Flora of Victoria online, B. viscosa as now understood has a narrower distribution and the only Beyeria species in north-western Victoria are B. lechenaultii and B. opaca. To date, M. splendida has not be collected on B. opaca (Dark Turpentine Bush) in SA.

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.