metallic wood-boring beetles

(Agrilus spp.)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus sp.)

Photo by Alfredo Colon


Agrilus is a very large, exceptionally diverse genus of beetles known as metallic wood-boring beetles or jewel beetles. There almost 3,000 currently recognized species in about 40 subgenera worldwide, more than any other genus in the animal kingdom. There are 174 species in 2 subgenera North America north of Mexico, and at least 31 species in Minnesota. They occur on every continent except Greenland and Antarctica.


They are found on hardwood broad-leaved plants. Larvae are wood borers. They create tunnels beneath the bark and are rarely seen. Adults feed on the leaves of the same species that host the larvae.

The most well known member is the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis), which is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of ash trees in North America. The most destructive member is the two-lined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus). It attacks oaks, beech, ironwood, and chestnut trees.


Agrilus adults are to 916 (3.0 to 14.5 mm) long. The body is rigid, bullet-shaped, narrow, and long. The upper (dorsal) side is frequently metallic and usually shiny. The under (ventral) side is nearly always iridescent. Some species have yellow or yellowish spots, one species has yellow stripes. The forewings (elytra) have nearly parallel sides and often taper to a point at the rear. The antennae are short and sawtoothed. They have 11 segments. The last part of the leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has 5 segments.


Distribution Map



24, 27, 29, 30, 82.



Coleoptera (beetles)  


Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, long-horned, leaf, and snout beetles)  




Buprestoidea (metallic wood boring and false jewel beetles)  


Buprestidae (metallic wood-boring beetles)  




  Subtribe Agrilina  

Subordinate Taxa


alder borer (Agrilus pensus)

beech borer (Agrilus obsoletoguttatus)

blue-headed borer (Agrilus crinicornis)

bluish borer (Agrilus cyanescens)

bowed borer (Agrilus arcuatus)

bronze birch borer (Agrilus anxius)

bronze borer (Agrilus putillus)

bronze poplar borer (Agrilus liragus)

butternut agrilus (Agrilus junglandis)

dogwood agrilus (Agrilus cephalicus)

emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis)

encircled borer (Agrilus subcinctus)

Frost’s borer (Agrilus frosti)

granulate poplar borer (Agrilus granulatus)

hackberry borer (Agrilus celti)

hawthorn agrilus (Agrilus cratagei)

hawthorn root borer (Agrilus vittaticollis)

hickory agrilus (Agrilus otiosus)

lacking borer (Agrilus egenus)

maple agrilus (Agrilus masculinus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus paraimpexus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus quadriguttatus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus transimpressus)

Osburn’s borer (Agrilus osburni)

peacegul borer (Agrilus imbellis)

red-necked cane borer (Agrilus ruficollis)

rose stem girdler (Agrilus cuprescens)

small borer (Agrilus parvus)

spotworm borer (Agrilus acutipennis)

twinned borer (Agrilus geminatus)

two-lined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus)

willow gall limb borer (Agrilus politus)






Common Names


This genus has no common name. The common name of the family Buprestidae is metallic wood-boring beetles, and it is applied here for convenience.










The hardened or leathery forewings of beetles used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying. Singular: elytron.



On insects, the last two to five subdivisions of the leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. On spiders, the last segment of the leg. Plural: tarsi.






Visitor Photos

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Alfredo Colon

    metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus sp.)   metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus sp.)  








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Other Videos
  Identifying: Jewel Beetles (Agrilus)
James McCulloch

Jul 3, 2020

I detail the identification process for a jewel beetle in the family Buprestidae.

Mike's Insect Keys to Buprestidae:

Royal Entomological Society Handbook:

My Twitter: @My_Wild_Life

Many thanks to Josie Hewitt for the use of three of her Agrilus laticornis photos.




Visitor Sightings

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  Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus sp.)  






Created: 11/12/2020

Last Updated:

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