Buprestidae of South Australia
( Jewel beetles )
by Peter J. Lang
Paracephala pistacina   (Hope, 1846)
subfamily  Agrilinae » tribe  Coraebini » subtribe  unplaced
Paracephala pistacina   Adult images
Paracephala pistacina, PL3080, male, on Austrostipa pilata, MU, 4.6 × 1.4 mm Paracephala pistacina, PL3080, male, on Austrostipa pilata, MU, 4.6 × 1.4 mm Paracephala pistacina, PL3080, male, MU, 4.6 × 1.4 mm Paracephala pistacina, PL3080, male, MU, 4.6 × 1.4 mm Paracephala pistacina, PL3080, male, on Austrostipa pilata, MU, 4.6 × 1.4 mm
Actual
size¹:
4.7 mm
×
1.3 mm
Measurements (mm)
malefemale
L14.6
3.65 – 5.3
n = 334.7
3.9 – 5.5
n = 27
L24.5
3.6 – 5.2
n = 334.5
1.35 – 5.4
n = 27
W1.2
1 – 1.4
n = 331.4
1.1 – 5.2
n = 27
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
Notes

Although hitherto seldom collected in SA, I have found P. pistacina to be extremely abundant across northern Eyre Peninsula in spring when its host Spear-grasses (Austrostipa spp.) are flowering. Similar densities were also observed at a site in the NW region, indicating that it has a very wide distribution and is possibly one of the most common Buprestids in the State.

Hope 1846a originally named it as Agrilus pistacinus and commented: 'I received this minute species from the Adelaide settlement and have named it from its pistacine colour which soon fades after the death of the insect; it then becomes of a copper hue and is sometimes brassy.' The greyish-green colour does sometimes approach that of the Pistachio nut Pistacia vera.

Distribution
SA Regions¹:  NWEAEPMUSL
Australian States:  SAVICNSWQLD
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 Paracephala pistacina  (total of 101 beetles)
15
3 37 8
38
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Legend
live emerged adults, count > median value of 15 per quarter month
live emerged adults, count <= median value of 15
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
Austrostipa nitida675NW, EPP
Austrostipa sp.151EPP
Austrostipa pilata123EP, MUP
Austrostipa puberula31EPP
Acacia sp.21EAF
Austrostipa drummondii21EPP
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
P Poaceae 99 98% 4
F Fabaceae 2 2% 1
Position on adult host
positionbeetlessites
on flower(s)616
on plant (unspecified)32
other
  on fruit372
Paracephala pistacina Breeding record images
Paracephala pistacina, PL3986B, larva, EP, 7.0 × 1.5 mm Paracephala pistacina, PL3986B, larva, EP, 7.0 × 1.5 mm
Larval host plant
individuals sites SA regions¹ family larva
Austrostipa nitida31EPP3
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
P Poaceae 3 100% 1
Position in larval host
positionindividualssiteslarva
other313
Host plant notes

Adults are strongly associated with Austrostipa (Spear-grasses) and to date have mostly been found on three species from the falcate-awned group (A. nitida, A. pilata and A. drummondii). I have found evidence that Austrostipa is the larval host also. On some A. nitida tussocks on which adults were collected I have observed frass in the base of culms, and found associated larvae of subfamily Agrilinae that are of an appropriate size to be those of P. pistacina.

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.