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 Temognatha heros, PL1303, on Eucalyptus leptophylla, MU 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 Temognatha heros, PL1303, on Eucalyptus leptophylla, MU 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, host Eucalyptus leptophylla, MU
51.4 mm
20.4 mm
Measurements (mm)
39.4 – 56.4
n = 1755.5
45.9 – 63
n = 10
51.9 – 56.4
n = 2
15.4 – 21.6
n = 1722.3
17.7 – 25.05
n = 10
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.


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.

Australian States:  WASAVICNSW
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 Temognatha heros  (total of 289 beetles)
35 54
163 17 4 2
13 1
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
live emerged adults, count > median value of 17 per quarter month
live emerged adults, count <= median value of 17
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
Eucalyptus leptophylla26317EP, MU, SEM
Eucalyptus brachycalyx52EPM
Eucalyptus oleosa52EPM
Eucalyptus dumosa41EPM
Eucalyptus calcareana32EPM
Eucalyptus sp.34NU, EP, MUM
Eucalyptus phenax ssp. phenax11EPM
Melaleuca lanceolata11EPM
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 family
Code beetles % host plant taxa
M Myrtaceae 286 100% 7
Position on adult host
on flower(s)22919
on flowering plant145
on plant (unspecified)124
  hovering over43
  on ground under canopy253
  on stems21
Lure affinity
colour beetles sites SA regions¹
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.'

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.