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The Metallic Wood-boring Beetles of Canada and Alaska


Anyone who has spent time working or vacationing in the forested regions of North America is probably familiar with the family Buprestidae, or flatheaded borers. The larvae are large, white grubs shaped somewhat like a horseshoe nail and are common under bark of dead wood. The adults are flattened, compact, usually rather large, often bright-coloured beetles with a metallic lustre. Both larvae and adults are conspicuous elements of the forest fauna. Because of the large size and brilliant colors of the adults, they are frequently collected and the family has been a favourite of collectors for many years.

The Buprestidae is a large and important family of beetles. The adults are exceedingly active on the wing and the larvae occur under the bark of various trees and woody plants. A few species attack and kill apparently healthy trees; most, however, attack weakened, dead or recently felled trees. A few species breed in cones and seasoned wood; some are leaf miners. In general, the family is among the more destructive ones in the forest. They can also be considered beneficial because they aid the natural process of returning dead wood to soil.