|scientific name Melanophila acuminata |
common name Black Fire Beetle or Fire Bugs
June to September.
The adults are all black, and may be confused at first glance with Anthaxia inornata. The curved base of the pronotum separates the Melanophila from the Anthaxia and the presence of mesothoracic sensory pits sets M. acuminata apart from all other Alberta buprestids.
Adults can remain alive for periods of up to 4 weeks in the lab if allowed to feed on raisins or peanuts (not their natural food) and given water. This is a most interesting insect. Adults have been reported coming to freshly burned trees, sometimes still smouldering to oviposit. Evans (Ecology 47:1061-1065,1966) demonstrated that these beetles can detect, infrared sources using paired receptors situated on the mesothorax near the coxal cavities and orientate towards the heat source. The structure of these receptors, are figured in Evans and Kuster (Can. Ent. 112:211-216,1980). Adults continue to be attracted to burned trees in the year following a fire.
These beetles may use most any conifer for larval development (Bright 1987). In Alberta it has been reared from white spruce and fire killed jack pine.
The species is found throughout North America, Cuba, Europe and Asia (Bright 1987).
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