Buprestidae of South Australia
( Jewel beetles )
by Peter J. Lang
Temognatha heros   GĂ©hin, 1855
subfamily  Buprestinae » tribe  Stigmoderini » subtribe  Stigmoderina
Temognatha heros   Adult images
Temognatha heros, PL1303, on Eucalyptus leptophylla, MU, 55.0 × 23.1 mm Temognatha heros, PL1303, on Eucalyptus leptophylla, MU, 55.0 × 23.1 mm Temognatha heros, PL3536B, male, EP, 51.9 × 19.9 mm Temognatha heros, PL1298B, male, MU, 47.5 × 19.5 mm Temognatha heros, PL0008, EP Temognatha heros, PL1303, MU, 55.0 × 23.1 mm Temognatha heros, PL1303, on Eucalyptus leptophylla, MU, 55.0 × 23.1 mm Temognatha heros, PL1344, male, on Eucalyptus leptophylla, SE, 45.3 × 16.9 mm Temognatha heros, PL1344, male, on Eucalyptus leptophylla, SE, 45.3 × 16.9 mm Temognatha heros, PL1305, MU Temognatha heros, PL1305, MU Temognatha heros, PL1305, adult host plant, Eucalyptus leptophylla, MU
Actual
size¹:
51.2 mm
×
20.4 mm
Measurements (mm)
malefemale
L149.0
39.4 – 56.4
n = 2154.7
45.9 – 63
n = 13
L250.3
46 – 56.4
n = 651.4
45.45 – 55.1
n = 3
W19.3
15.4 – 21.6
n = 2122.1
17.7 – 25.05
n = 13
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
Temognatha heros  Distinctive features

Large size, general orange-brown colouration with darker markings on anterior of pronotum in males; ventral side mostly bronze-grey with hairs relatively inconspicuous.

Notes

This is the largest Buprestid in SA and can be over 60 mm long. In exceptional years it appears in huge numbers, together with T. stevensii (on Eyre Peninsula) and, to a lesser degree, T. parvicollis. In intervening years it is only present in low numbers or hardly at all. The major episodic outbreaks are erratic and difficult to predict, but may be related to life-cycle cohorts and be triggered by major rainfall events. At such times the mallee country comes alive with helicopter-like buzzing as these large beetles lumber from canopy to canopy to feed on Eucalypt blossoms. Their emergence in mid to late summer coincides with the peak-flowering of Narrow-leaf Mallee Eucalyptus leptophylla, which is the principal adult host.

Distribution
SA Regions¹:  NWNUEPNLMUYPSE
Australian States:  WASAVICNSW
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 Temognatha heros  (total actual records: 331 beetles)
36 55
163 27 34 2
13 1
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
Legend
9
number of active beetles, actually recorded in that quarter-month
actual count > 30.5 (median)
actual count <= 30.5 (median)
Adult host plants
beetles sites SA regions¹ family position on host plant
29118EP, MU, SEM
Eucalyptus sp.146NU, EP, MUM
52EPM
52EPM
41EPM
42EP, MUM
32EPM
11EPM
Melaleuca sp.11NUM
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 names in green are hyperlinked to a matching host species page with plant photos.
Plant family
Code beetles % host plant taxa
M Myrtaceae 328 100% 7
Position on adult host
positionbeetlessites
on flower(s)26019
on flowering plant246
on foliage or non-flowering plant11
on plant (unspecified)124
other
  hovering over43
  on ground under canopy253
  on stems21
Lure affinity
colour beetles sites SA regions¹
orange41SE
red11MU
Temognatha heros Breeding record images
Temognatha heros, PL5664, larva, in Eucalyptus brachycalyx root, EP, 47.0 × 9.9 mm Temognatha heros, PL5664, larva, in Eucalyptus brachycalyx root, EP, 47.0 × 9.9 mm Temognatha heros, PL5664, larva, in Eucalyptus brachycalyx root, EP, 47.0 × 9.9 mm Temognatha heros, PL5664, larva, in Eucalyptus brachycalyx root, EP, 47.0 × 9.9 mm
Larval host plant
records sites SA regions¹ family larva
11EPM1
Legendrecordscount 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 names in green are hyperlinked to a matching host species page with plant photos.
Plant family
Code records % host plant taxa
M Myrtaceae 1 100% 1
Position in larval host
positionrecordssiteslarva
root111
Host plant notes

Although recorded on a variety of Eucalyptus species, Narrow-leaf Mallee E. leptophylla greatly predominates as an adult host. The presentation and arrangement of its nectar-rich blossoms is well-suited to this and other large Buprestids. Flowering occurs en masse and renders whole sections of the outer canopy creamy-white, allowing the beetles to move about freely.

Tepper 1887 provided an early breeding record for it (as Stigmodera heros) in Eucalyptus lignotubers, or 'mallee stumps': 'The larvae of this, and the next four species inhabit the so-called mallee roots, the subterranean trunk of Eucalyptus uncinata [misapplied for E. leptophylla in SA at that time], E. oleosa, and E. gracilis. They attain a length of three inches [75 mm]; require at least two years (probably four) till maturity, and are sometimes found numerously therein. .. I found once many hundreds in a small load.' Tepper's statement of five Temognatha species breeding in three Eucalyptus species is taken as a general supposition, and is not interpreted to mean that he had found breeding evidence for all five of his species in each of the Eucalypts.

A Temognatha larva I extracted from a root at the base of a Gilja mallee Eucalyptus brachycalyx on Eyre Peninsula in November 2022, was identified as T. heros in May 2024 by its DNA barcode (mitochondrial CO1 sequence).

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.