Buprestidae of South Australia
( Jewel beetles )
by Peter J. Lang
Diphucrania modesta   (Kerremans, 1898)
subfamily  Agrilinae » tribe  Coraebini » subtribe  Cisseina
Diphucrania  species group: modesta
Diphucrania modesta   Adult images
Diphucrania modesta, PL1723A, on Acacia pycnantha, SL Diphucrania modesta, PL1723A, on Acacia pycnantha, SL Diphucrania modesta, PL0542A, female, on Acacia pycnantha, SL Diphucrania modesta, PL0578A, female, on Acacia pycnantha, SL, 5.6 × 2.3 mm Diphucrania modesta, PL0542B, male, from Acacia pycnantha, SL, 4.9 × 1.9 mm Diphucrania modesta, PL0542, male, on Acacia pycnantha, SL Diphucrania modesta, PL0542, male, on Acacia pycnantha, SL Diphucrania modesta, PL1723A, on Acacia pycnantha, SL Diphucrania modesta, PL0340, on Acacia pycnantha, NL Diphucrania modesta, PL0340, on Acacia pycnantha, NL Diphucrania modesta, PL0340, on Acacia pycnantha, NL Diphucrania modesta, PL0340, on Acacia pycnantha, NL Diphucrania modesta, PL0376, female, on Acacia pycnantha, SL, 4.8 × 1.9 mm Diphucrania modesta, PL0361, female, on Acacia pycnantha, SL, 5.1 × 2.1 mm Diphucrania modesta, PL1723A, on Acacia pycnantha, SL
5.3 mm
2.1 mm
Measurements (mm)
4.6 – 5.8
n = 415.4
4.05 – 6.2
n = 27
4.55 – 5.7
n = 105.3
4.75 – 6.1
n = 7
1.8 – 2.4
n = 412.1
1.6 – 2.45
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
Diphucrania modesta  Distinctive features

Based on Kerremans 1898, D. modesta differs from D. semiobscura in having the elytra purplish black (vs. purple) with traces of grey mottling (vs. light grey speckles), the antennae & tarsi black (vs. 'obscure' [= dark]), and the pronotum and scutellar region a shiny copper purple (vs. purple). Also the head is green (vs. purple), but this may simply be a result of different sexes being described. Structural differences apparent in the accounts of the two species seem slight and inconsequential: dimensions 5 x 1.7 mm (vs. 5 x 1.8 mm); pronotum sides arched (vs. fairly arched); pronotum base with median lobe a little indented (vs. barely indented); elytra with small transverse wrinkles (vs. with rugosities resembling scales).


An extremely common and variable species for which the limits of variation are difficult to define. It is closely related to Diphucrania semiobscura (q.v.) which has an identical aedeagus and may not be separable as a distinct species.

The original description of this species (as Cisseis modesta) by Kerremans 1898 was followed on the same page by an adjacent protologue for C. semiobscura. Kerrremans introduced C. semiobscura stating that it had the appearance of C. modesta but was different in regard to certain details of structure and colouration but did not elaborate further. The differences given under 'Distinctive features' above are derived from a comparison of his brief descriptions for the two species.

Analysis of preliminary DNA barcode sequences (mitochondrial CO-1) divided D. modesta and D. semiobscura samples into two tightly clustered and well separated sister groups: a sample of six individuals from the Mt Lofty Ranges (Belair, Mt Barker, Lobethal and Kapunda areas) and a sample of nine individuals from the Murray Mallee, southern Flinders Ranges and Eyre Peninsula (Monarto, Quorn, Kimba and Edilillie areas). The first group includes some 'typical' D. modesta forms with blackish elytra and coppery pronotum, and the latter some with more purplish elytra and pronotum that fit C. semiobscura. However, forms from the southern Mt Lofty Ranges (including some samples that grouped with typical C. modesta) often have the elytra dark coppery bronze to purplish rather than blackish. There is much variation, and it is not possible to find consistent colour or morphological differences corresponding to the two groups, nor any distinction based on adult host plants. A more detailed study with nuclear DNA may help resolve the taxonomy of this complex.

Australian States:  WASAVIC
South Australian occurrences
LegendP.J.Lang collection vouchered records
other private collection or museum specimens, or sightings
Satellite map
Terrain map
Enlarge map
Adult activity records for Diphucrania modesta  (total of 330 beetles)
2 1
3 8 18 68
77 26 36 35
19 3 23 8
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
live emerged adults, count > median value of 18 per quarter month
live emerged adults, count <= median value of 18
live non-emerged adults only, for that quarter month
number of active beetles for that quarter month
Adult host plants
beetles sites SA regions¹ family position on host plant
26431FR, NL, MU, SLF
Acacia sp.267EP, SLF
Leptospermum sp.11MUM
Legendbeetlescount of beetles collected from, or sighted on, host plant taxon
sitescount of major sites (unique 10 km grid cells +/- some distinct approximate localities)
*indicates alien (non-native) plant occurrences, either wild or planted (the species may be alien in SA, or native in parts of its SA range)
Plant names in green are hyperlinked to a matching host species page with plant photos.
Plant family
Code beetles % host plant taxa
F Fabaceae 309 97% 4
C1 Casuarinaceae 5 2% 2
M Myrtaceae 3 1% 2
C2 Cupressaceae 1 0% 1
Position on adult host
on flower(s)51
on flowering plant11
on foliage or non-flowering plant23630
on plant (unspecified)7716
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.