Jewel Beetle | Actenodes auronotatus (Gory & Laporte)

California Pest Rating for
Jewel Beetle | Actenodes auronotatus (Gory & Laporte)
Coleoptera: Buprestidae
Pest Rating: A



Initiating Event:

Actenodes auronotatus is currently Q-rated.  A permanent pest rating proposal is required to support an official pest rating.

History & Status:

Background:  Adult Actenodes auronotatus are approximately 1.5 cm in length.  The upper surface is brown and slightly bronzy with metallic golden-green spots (Fisher, 1942).  The larvae of this beetle, like most buprestids, live in and feed on wood.  This beetle has been found inside (presumably having developed in) the wood of Avicennia germinans (Verbenaceae), Cajanus cajan (Fabaceae), and Taxodium distichum (Cupressaceae) (Fisher, 1942; Hanula,1993; MacRae and Basham, 2013).  When information on the condition of the wood was given, it was reported to be dead.  Actenodes auronotatus has also been associated with (but not necessarily feeding on) Casuarina equisetifolia (Casuarinaceae) (Capelouto, 1949).  Other Actenodes species are associated with Acacia (Fabaceae), Acer (Aceraceae), Carya (Juglandaceae), Gleditsia (Fabaceae), Prosopis (Fabaceae), Quercus (Fagaceae), Ulmus (Ulmaceae), and Zelkova (Ulmaceae) species (Camacho-Pantoja, 2009; Hansen et al., 2012; MacRae and Bellamy, 2013; Nelson and MacRae, 1990; Westcott, 1990; Westcott et al., 1989).  Some of these records were of beetles reared from, or collected from the inside of branches of live trees, but in these cases, it was not reported if the branches themselves were alive or dead.

Worldwide Distribution:  This species is reported from Cuba, Haiti, eastern Mexico, and the southeastern United States (Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana) (Cancino and Blanco, 2002; Carlton et al., 2014; Fisher, 1942; García et al., 2010; Hespenheide and Bellamy, 2004; Peck, 2005).  Blackwelder (1944) reported A. auronotatus from Chile, but more recent reports of this species in that country were not found.

Official Control: Actenodes auronotatus is not known to be under official control anywhere.

California Distribution:  Actenodes auronotatus is not known to be present in California (Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network).

California Interceptions:  Actenodes auronotatus was intercepted in a trailer from Florida in May 2006 (California Department of Food and Agriculture).

The risk Actenodes auronotatus would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction:

1) Climate/Host Interaction: Actenodes auronotatus is apparently restricted to areas with tropical or subtropical climates, and it seems likely that if it can establish in California, it would be restricted to a limited area. Therefore, it receives a Medium (2) in this category.

– Low (1) Not likely to establish in California; or likely to establish in very limited areas.

– Medium (2) may be able to establish in a larger but limited part of California.

– High (3) likely to establish a widespread distribution in California.

2) Known Pest Host Range: This beetle has been found inside and presumably developed in the wood of at least three botanical families. Therefore, it receives a Medium (2) in this category.

– Low (1) has a very limited host range.

– Medium (2) has a moderate host range.

– High (3) has a wide host range.

3) Pest Dispersal Potential: Actenodes auronotatus presumably flies and can be moved in infested wood, including firewood.  Therefore, it receives a Medium (2) in this category.

– Low (1) does not have high reproductive or dispersal potential.

– Medium (2) has either high reproductive or dispersal potential.

– High (3) has both high reproduction and dispersal potential.

4) Economic Impact: Actenodes auronotatus has not been reported to feed on living trees, and no reports were found of any species in this genus being a pest.  However, some species of Buprestidae that are known to primarily feed on injured or dead trees can attack apparently healthy (though possibly stressed, from drought, for example) trees (Fettig, 2016; Furniss and Carolin, 1977).  There is little information available on the biology of auronotatus or the genus Actenodes.  If A. auronotatus can attack living trees, it could lower yield of timber.   Even if A. auronotatus cannot attack living trees, it could damage cut timber, lowering its value.  Therefore, it receives a Medium (2) in this category.

Economic Impact:  A, B

A. The pest could lower crop yield.

B. The pest could lower crop value (includes increasing crop production costs).

C. The pest could trigger the loss of markets (includes quarantines).

D. The pest could negatively change normal cultural practices.

E. The pest can vector, or is vectored, by another pestiferous organism.

F. The organism is injurious or poisonous to agriculturally important animals.

G. The organism can interfere with the delivery or supply of water for agricultural uses.

Economic Impact Score: 2

– Low (1) causes 0 or 1 of these impacts.

– Medium (2) causes 2 of these impacts.

– High (3) causes 3 or more of these impacts.

4) Environmental Impact: If Actenodes auronotatus can attack living trees, it could impact forest ecosystems in California. Therefore, it receives a Medium (2) in this category.

Evaluate the environmental impact of the pest on California using the criteria below.

Environmental Impact:  A

A. The pest could have a significant environmental impact such as lowering biodiversity, disrupting natural communities, or changing ecosystem processes.

B. The pest could directly affect threatened or endangered species.

C. The pest could impact threatened or endangered species by disrupting critical habitats.

D. The pest could trigger additional official or private treatment programs.

E. The pest significantly impacts cultural practices, home/urban gardening or ornamental plantings.

Environmental Impact Score: 2

– Low (1) causes none of the above to occur.

– Medium (2) causes one of the above to occur.

– High (3) causes two or more of the above to occur.

Consequences of Introduction to California for Actenodes auronotatus: Medium (10)

Add up the total score and include it here.

–Low = 5-8 points

–Medium = 9-12 points

–High = 13-15 points

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Actenodes auronotatus is not known to be present in California.  It receives a Not established (0) in this category.

–Not established (0) Pest never detected in California, or known only from incursions.

–Low (-1) Pest has a localized distribution in California, or is established in one suitable climate/host area (region).

–Medium (-2) Pest is widespread in California but not fully established in the endangered area, or pest established in two contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

–High (-3) Pest has fully established in the endangered area, or pest is reported in more than two contiguous or non-contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

Final Score:

The final score is the consequences of introduction score minus the post entry distribution and survey information score: Medium (10)


The limited biological information available on A. auronotatus means that there is significant uncertainty in this proposal.  The most significant uncertainty is that regarding the potential for A. auronotatus to attack living trees.  Some buprestids that normally live in dying or dead trees attack living trees in dry conditions (e.g., during droughts).  Climate change may result in greater drought stress in California, which could make trees more susceptible to beetles like this one.  There is also uncertainty regarding the size range of wood that A. auronotatus utilizes.  It may only use branches, in which case the economic impact on already-cut wood would likely be minimal.  This proposal has taken a cautious approach.  It is possible that this  beetle feeds only on dead branches, in which case it would likely not pose an economic threat to California (because living trees and cut timber of larger dimensions would not be attacked).  In this case, it could still pose an environmental threat, because it would likely compete with native beetles that live inside dead wood.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Actenodes auronotatus is a member of a beetle family that includes important forest pests.  Although this species is not known to attack living trees, little is known about the biology of this species to exclude that possibility.  There is evidence that other buprestids that normally live in dead or dying trees can sometimes attack live trees.  If A. auronotatus can attack living trees or cut timber, it could have economic and environmental impacts in California, where it is not yet known to be present.  For these reasons, an “A” rating is justified.


Blackwelder, R.E.  1944.  Checklist of the coleopterous insects of Mexico, Central America, the West Indies, and South America.  Bulletin of the United States National Museum. 185(2): 189–341.

California Department of Food and Agriculture.  Pest and damage record database.  Accessed February 14, 2018.

Camacho-Pantoja, A.  2009.  Árboles de importancia forestal hospedantes de Buprestidae (Coleoptera) en México.  In (A.E. Martínez, E.E. Venegas, J.A.A. Soto, and M.P.C. Grijalva, eds.): Memoria del XV Simposio Nacional de Parasitología Forestal (pp. 36-39).

Capelouto, R.  1949.  Notes on the Florida Buprestidae (Coleoptera).  The Florida Entomologist.  32(3): 109-114.

Carlton, C.E., Johnson, W., Allison, J.D., MacRae, T.C., Tishechkin, A., Virgets, W., Ferro, M.L., and J.-S. Park.  2014.  Buprestidae of Louisiana: From traditional faunistics to early detection of the Emerald Ash Borer (poster).

E.R. Cancino and J.M.C. Blanco.  2002.  Artrópodos terrestres de los estados de Tamaulipas y Nuevo León, México.  Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas.  377 pp.

Fettig, C.J.  2016.  Chapter 18: Native bark beetles and wood borers in Mediterranean forests of California.  In (T.D. Paine and F. Lieutier, eds.) Insects and Diseases of Mediterranean Forests (pp. 499-528).  Springer.  892 pp.

Fisher, W.S.  1942.  A revision of the North American species of buprestid beetles belonging to the tribe Chrysobothrini.  United States Department of Agriculture Miscellaneous Publication.  470: 1-275.

Furniss, R.L. and V.M. Carolin.  1977.  Western forest insects. USDA Forest Service Miscellaneous Publication, Washington, DC.

García, I.F., Reyes Sánchez, E.E., and A.D. Álvarez.  2010.  Colección entomológica “Juan C. Gundlach”: Serie Elateriformia (Coleoptera).  Poeyana.  499: 5-12.

Hansen, J.A., Basham, J.P., Oliver, J.B., Youseef, N.N., Klingeman, W.E., Moulton, J.K., and D.C. Fare.  2012.  New state and host plant records for metallic woodboring beetles (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) in Tennessee, U.S.A.  The Coleopterists Bulletin.  66(4): 337-343.

Hanula, J.L.  1993.  Relationship of wood-feeding insects and coarse woody debris.  In (J.W. McMinn and D.A. Crossley, Jr., eds.) Biodiversity and Coarse Woody Debris in Southern Forests (pp. 55-81).  United States Department of Agriculture.  146 pp.

Hespenheide, H.A. and C.L. Bellamy.  2004.  The first Antillean Pachyschelus, and a new Leiopleura, from Hispaniola (Coleoptera: Buprestidae).  Folia Heyrovskana.  12(2-3): 105-112.

MacRae, T.C. and J.P. Basham.  2013.  Distributional, biological, and nomenclatural notes on Buprestidae (Coleoptera) occurring in the U.S. and Canada.  Pan-Pacific Entomologist.  89(3): 125-142.

MacRae, T.C. and C.L. Bellamy.  2013.  Two new species of Actenodes Dejean (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) from southern Mexico, with distributional and biological notes on Buprestidae from Mexico and Central America.  Pan-Pacific Entomologist.  89(2): 102-119.

Nelson, G.H. and T.C. MacRae.  1990.  Additional notes on the biology and distribution of Buprestidae (Coleoptera) in North America.  The Coleopterists Bulletin.  44(3): 349-354.

Peck, S.B.  2005.  A checklist of the beetles of Cuba with data on distributions and bionomics.  Arthropods of Florida and Neighboring Land Areas.  Volume 18.  Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  241pp.

Symbiota Collections of Arthropods Network.  Accessed February 9, 2018.

Westcott, R.L.  1990.  Distributional, biological and taxonomic notes on North American Buprestidae (Coleoptera).  Insecta Mundi.  4(1-4): 73-80.

Westcott, R.L., Atkinson, T.H., Hespenheide, H.A., and G.H. Nelson.  1989.  New country and state records, and other notes for Mexican Buprestidae (Coleoptera).  Insecta Mundi.  3(3): 217-232.


Kyle Beucke, 1220 N Street, Room 221, Sacramento, CA, 95814, 916-403-6741;[@]

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Pest Rating: A


Posted by ls