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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Name that beetle

Sandy Driscoll* of Silver Lake would like to know what kind of beetle (pictured above) made a recent appearance at her home:

He/she was crawling on my patio floor.  It was a bit more than an inch long, and iridescent in color.

Any beetle experts out there?

* Driscoll is an Eastsider advertiser



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  1. we had one on our fig tree. it was feeding on a rotten fig and was covered in ants. kind of gross and beautiful. but no idea what type of beetle–sorry!

  2. That’s funny (the comment above) because I think these beetles are called fig beetles!

  3. Yes, that’s a fig beetle, also known as a june bug.

  4. Cotinus texana. For a common name, call it whatever you want.

  5. It is a kind of Scarab Beetle, revered in ancient Egyptian artwork and often found as decorative objects: http://www.google.com/search?q=scarab+beetle&hl=en&prmd=ivns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=S549To2uDsXMsQKD6Kwk&ved=0CEAQsAQ

    The black dung beetles you often see on the trails in Elysian Park belong to the same family.

  6. Yup, it’s a Fig beetle. Not a June bug which are smaller and copper in color.

  7. Mayates In Spanish, lol.

  8. Green fruit beetle or figeater. Also known to enjoy magnolia blossoms:

    http://tinyurl.com/3z9lqx8

  9. Actually, Julie, people frequently refer to fig beetles as june bugs.

  10. Where I come from in the mid-west, the smaller copper color bugs that Julie describes are called June bugs. They fly around your porch light and also like to land in your hair – gross.

  11. Fig Eaters are here! I was once enjoying a delicious lunch on a restaurant patio on a sunny day when one of these guys flew right down a woman’s shirt. She even thought it was funny, after the fact, how she jumped up and began shrieking. It turned out that she was wearing vanilla perfume.

  12. Yes, a Cotinis mutabilis – or Figeater Beetle – is what I believe you have there.

  13. Thanks to all of you for your part in ID’ing my patio visitor. You have each given him/her a bit of personality, and I will feel friendlier to him, should another appear.
    I knew it wasn’t a June bug, because I’m from Ohio and Carol described those perfectly.

    Will, I enjoyed your video, and Kris10 I loved your lunch story!

  14. Sandy and others: people absolutely call this thing a june bug. Look it up online. Do a google image search for “green june bug” and see what you find.

  15. Jo-Jo,
    The people who may be calling this insect a June bug are wrong. Live with it, OK?

  16. Barbara, did you ever consider that people in different areas may call things by different names? I just find it bizarre that people are so insistent that I’m wrong.

  17. For whatever it’s worth, here’s a link to the beetle we used to call a “June bug” when I was growing up in Ohio. They were brown, and much smaller than this huge green guy that I found on my patio. http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/bimg139.html

    We’re probably all more right than wrong, here. It’s a matter of semantics and where we grew up! Now, that said, don’t even get me started on what we used to call “Water Bugs” in Ohio! (Those of you from that area I’m sure know what I’m taking about. Really creepy!)

  18. I have never seen a green June bug. I am Sandy’s sister and live in Maryland now but was born and raised in Ohio. June bugs here are black or dark brown.

  19. Marilyn Henderson

    Sandy: I had an enormous fig tree at my former residence in Sherman Oaks. Never saw the likes of that beetle in 16 years and the tree produced about 4,000 figs a year. Perhaps your “visitor” is a refuge from Egypt, you know a SCARAB! Marilyn

  20. I don’t know what you call it in English, but I grew up in Los Angeles and I am very familiar with these bugs. These beetles (and I do believe it is a beetle) are indigenous to Southern California. We used to play with them as a children (strange, but true). And, I have always heard them referred to as “mayates verdes” in Spanish. I have never used an English name to refer to them so I don’t know what they are called in English. I tried googling them right now and they were identified as either “mayate” and/or “june bug”, but I don’t know if that is correct. I do know that if you ask your Spanish-speaking or Mexican American neighbors, they will tell you that bug is a Mayate.

  21. Also, the Mayate feeds on fig trees and (more commonly in Echo Park) in the big maguey plants that are so common here. I think maguey plants are referred to as “agave” in English, but not certain that they are exactly the same thing.

  22. I found the following website which credibly identifies the bug as a “mayate verde” in Spanish and a “fig beetle” in English. Since the website is maintained byArizona-Sonora Desert Museum, it is probably accurate.

    http://www.desertmuseum.org/books/nhsd_beetles.php

    Thus, very doubtful that this bug is a “june bug”.

  23. @Jo Jo……. because you seem to be coming back & coming back insisting that you are RIGHT! I don’t think initial comments were meant to demean you in any way, just correct the info. Nobody would have doubted that some people call them June bugs, commentors just added that actually they are not.

  24. I know this discussion is long over, but it made me laugh to hear your banter over the name of this beetle. That is the problem with common names, they can be very regional, and what normal person memorizes scientific names for clarity (I’m a zoologist so I do in my particular field which is not insects!).
    Funny thing is I found this page trying answer to the very debate you are having… my Nana had a fig tree that attracted these every summer and we called them Fig Beetles, however one recently joined playtime by the pool and a friend called it a June Bug. So I called my friend at the Natural History Museum and he said two key things… while, 1) they are not what’s commonly known as a June Bug (a common name used nationwide for the same genus of beetles), but 2) they are often mistaken for the Green June Bug that is found in the southeast (the same genus as the one in question here with slightly different coloring). He also sent this link which says the same thing.

    Thanks for the smiles, and I hope this helps too =o).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figeater_beetle

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