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U.S. Forest Service

Plusiotis gloriosa (or Chrysina gloriosa)

By Zoe Statman-Weil

The glorious beetle!

The glorious scarab beetle is called by two scientific names: Plusiotis gloriosa and Chrysina gloriosa. Both names signify similar things: “Plusiotis” is greek for wealthy, while “Chrysina” is greek for gold. This scarab is deserving of these rich names for its body resembles something of value. It is a beautiful shiny green color with metallic black stripes and light blue eyes. It may come as a shock to you that this beautiful insect is also a pollinator!

P. gloriosa can be found in the American southwest, from Texas to Arizona and into Northern Mexico. Its habitat is high elevation juniper forests for its food of choice is the juniper leaf. Additionally, it can camouflage easily into the juniper trees!

The larvae are called grups and are yellow or white and curved. The larvae develop in soil, often at the roots of grasses. In Arizona, they are easily found in decomposing Platanus wrightii (Sycamore) logs. Pupation occurs in June. Pupation is the stage of the beetle between its larval stage and adulthood. The beetles are active adults between June and August. At this stage they are around 1 inch long, and the females are slightly bigger than the males.

Plusiotis gloriosa. The beautiful Chrysina gloriosa, demonstrating its vibrant green body and metallic green stripes. Photo from Wikimedia commons.

You may be asking, if these scarabs eat juniper leaves then how are they pollinators? Well the answer is that they use flowers as places to hide, store food or mate! Thus, they can pollinate when they visit multiple flowers. This method of pollination is referred to as “mess and soil.” It is not the most glamorous relationship between an insect and a flower, but it is still an effective one!

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