metallic wood-boring beetle

(Agrilus spp.)


Agrilus is an exceptionally diverse genus of metallic wood-boring beetles. There almost 2,900 currently recognized species worldwide, more than any other genus in the animal kingdom. There are 174 species in 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.

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus sp.)

  Photo by Alfredo Colon

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 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 Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 27, 29, 30, 82.





Coleoptera (beetles)



Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf and snout beetles)






Buprestoidea (metallic wood boring beetles)



Buprestidae (metallic wood-boring beetles)



Agrilinae (branch and leaf buprestids)







Subordinate Taxa

bronze birch borer (Agrilus anxius)

bronze poplar borer (Agrilus liragus)

butternut agrilus (Agrilus junglandis)

dogwood agrilus (Agrilus cephalicus)

emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis)

granulate poplar borer (Agrilus granulatus)

hawthorn agrilus (Agrilus cratagei)

hawthorn root borer (Agrilus vittaticollis)

hickory agrilus (Agrilus otiosus)

maple agrilus (Agrilus masculinus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus arcuatus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus celti)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus cyanescens)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus crinicornis)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus egenus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus frosti)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus geminatus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus imbellis)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus impexus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus obsoletoguttatus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus osburni)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus parvus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus pensus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus putillus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus quadriguttatus)

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus transimpressus)

red-necked cane borer (Agrilus ruficollis)

rose stem girdler (Agrilus cuprescens)

spotworm borer (Agrilus acutipennis)

two-lined chestnut borer (Agrilus bilineatus)

willow gall limb borer (Agrilus politus)




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







The hardened or leathery forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs. 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.






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Alfredo Colon
  metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus sp.)   metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus sp.) Photos






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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.




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Alfredo Colon

Location: Woodbury, MN

metallic wood-boring beetle (Agrilus sp.)






Created: 11/12/2020

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