Giant metallic ceiba

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Buprestidae, Euchroma gigantea. Spanish: Catzo (Ecuador). Portuguese: Mae do sol, olho do sol (Brazil).

This species, common from Mexico to Argentina, is the largest in its family (BL 6-7 cm) and like its relatives, brilliantly colored in glowing metallic hues (Hespen-heide 1983) (fig. 9.10e, pi. lh). The rugose el} tra are generally shining green but pro-

fused throughout with red; the back of the prothorax bears two large black spots side by side. Freshly emerged specimens are covered with a yellowish, waxy powder.

The larva is elongate (BL to 10 cm), with typical flattened thorax. It bores in the relatively soft wood of dead trees in the family Bombacaceae, most often the giant ceiba (Ceiba pentandra) but also balsa (Ochroma), Bombacopsis, and Pseudobombax. Adults are usually collected while walking on or flying about the trunks of these trees on warm days (Bondar 1926).

Adults have been used as food by the Tzeltal-Mayan Indians of Mexico (Hubbell 1979). And their attractive and durable elytra are made into ornaments by many tribes in diverse areas.

References

Bondar, G. 1926. A biologia de Euchroma gigantea L. Correio-agricola (Bahia) 4: 192-193.

Hespenheide, H. A. 1983. Euchroma gigantea (Euchroma, giant metallic ceiba borer). In D. H. Janzen, ed., Costa Rican natural history. Univ. Chicago Press, Chicago. P. 719. Hubbell, P. 1979. Adult beetles as food. Coleop. Bull. 33: 91.

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