Golden bronze is an arthropod from the Coleoptera order. A beautiful large beetle with a bright color of a metallic sheen from the genus of bronzes. The Latin name Cetonia aurata and description of the insect were made by Linnaeus in 1758.
Origin of the species and description
The beetle from the bronze subfamily belongs to the lamellar. This species includes seven subspecies with different colors, body shape, size, they also have different habitats. Within each subspecies, there are many variants with shades of color, and areas of pubescence of the body. Cetonia in the name of the beetle means metallic, and the word aurata means golden.
There are up to 2700 species in the world of bronzes, they are very diverse, for example, the world’s heaviest bronze beetle lives in Africa — goliath, a distant relative of the golden variety. In length, it reaches 10 cm, and weighs 80-100 g.
These large golden-green beetles fly with a loud buzz, and crashing into an obstacle, fall on their backs with a noise. At first they lie, pretending to be dead, and then they turn over with difficulty.
Adult insects are pests. They eat inflorescences. Larvae, processing dead organic matter, increase soil fertility. They bring about the same benefits as earthworms.
If scared off, the bronze can “shoot back” with an unpleasant-smelling liquid.
Appearance and Features
The first thing that catches your eye is a bright green color with a metallic sheen. In fact, the beetle is black, and the structure of the integument, which circularly polarizes light, is responsible for such a beautiful visibility. That’s why the coloring seems so changeable when viewed from different angles. Basically it is a bright green metallic or green with a golden hue, it can cast copper around the edges, but different subspecies have all kinds of aberrations.
The hard covers of the beetle consist of several very thin layers. The light reflects multiple times from each layer and overlaps, creating iridescent overflows of shades.
The size of the beetle is from 1 to 2.3 cm. The body is wide – about 0.8-1.2 cm, convex on the back, slightly narrowed towards the tip. The upper part of the body is covered with hairs, but naked individuals are also found. The occipital region of the head is oblong with dots and black antennae. The remaining parts of the head have larger dots and are located more densely. There is a keel-shaped ledge in the center. The entire head is covered with whitish hairs.
Video: Golden Bronze
The widest point is the pronotum, it is already closer to the head, it is also covered with dots. The edges are rounded on the sides. The shield, located between the hard elytra and the pronotum, has the shape of an isosceles triangle with a blunt apex – this is a characteristic distinguishing feature of this beetle. Scutellum covered with dots. The elytra are dotted with arched strokes and thin white stripes.
The legs of beetles also have dots, wrinkles, stripes. There are three teeth on the fore tibiae. The lower legs of the other legs also have one tooth. On the hind legs, the tibiae are the same length as the tarsi, and on the rest of the legs, the tarsi are longer than the tibiae.
Bronze birds do not spread their rigid elytra during flight. They have a notch on the sides, a cutout in which beetles spread their membranous wings during flight.
Where does the golden bronze live?
This Coleoptera has large habitat.
The beetle is found in Europe and Asia:
- starting from the south of Scandinavia, to the southern regions of the peninsulas and islands of the Mediterranean;
- in Asia Minor, in Iran (with the exception of desert areas);
- in the Central Asian republics to the north of Tajikistan;
- in the south, the range borders on the northern part of the Aral Sea, along the banks of the Syr- Darya reaches the Osh and Gulcha rivers;
- captures the Chinese province of Snjiang;
- in Mongolia reaches the river. Haragol.
On the territory of the Russian Federation, the north of the range coincides with the Korelsky Isthmus, then passes through the Perm Territory, Yekaterinburg, capturing the north of the Omsk Region, then goes through Western Siberia to the northern shores of Lake Baikal. The western coast of Lake Baikal is the eastern border of the distribution of golden bronze, but it is also found in the Amur region. In the south it reaches the Caucasus.
This beetle lives in forest-steppes and steppes. In the steppe zone, it prefers fescue-feather grass places, as there are shrubs necessary for the normal life cycle of the Coleoptera. Where there is no forest or shrubs, this species is not found. In the steppes, the arthropod can also live in valleys and floodplains, where there is a more humid environment and there are shrubs and trees. Even in semi-desert areas, you can find bronze, but only in the delta or floodplains. An example is the Terek floodplain of the Caspian desert.
The insect prefers sunny, illuminated places: edges, clearings, forest and meadow borders, clearings and overgrown burnt areas. Only the sweet smell of nectar, tree sap, can attract insects to forest thickets.
In the northern regions, he likes to settle in open, warm areas of flat areas. In the south, on the contrary, bronze can be found more often in mountainous areas. So in the area of Lake Issyk-Kul, it occurs at an altitude of more than 1.6 thousand m, on the Tien Shan mountain ranges it rises to 2.3 thousand m, in Transcaucasia, in the Sevan region – 2 thousand m, in Ciscaucasia up to 1 .6 thousand m.
What does the golden bronze eat?
Adult insect can often be seen on the flowers of various plants. They are especially fond of roses and wild roses.
In some European languages, this beetle is called pink, because of its addiction to these flowers.
But they not only drink the nectar of flowers, they also eat away the tender core and petals, seed baskets of umbrella plants, cabbages. They do not disdain the young foliage of plants, and where juice flows from a tree, bronzes can arrange a feast. Insects not only feed on the flowers of plants, but can also eat fruits and berries. The diet of beetles contains a lot of both cultivated and wild plants.
From fruit cultivated plants, these are: blackberry, apple tree, pear, apricot, plum, cherry, sweet cherry, dogwood, viburnum, mountain ash. From vegetables, it can harm: cabbage, radish, legumes. Cereals also suffer: corn, rye, buckwheat. Florists also sin on bronze because it can destroy a flower garden from early spring to late autumn: irises, peonies, roses, lilacs, lupins and others.
From wild plants, insects have a rich choice of diet, there are all kinds of rosaceous, dogwood, mallow, legumes, buckwheat, umbrella, beech, aster, lamb, iris, cloves and many other plant families. The larvae feed on rotting plant remains, they can be found in leaf litter, rotten wood, compost.
Character and lifestyle features
The life cycle of a bronze is a year, in the northern regions – two years. In the spring, the beetles mate. If oviposition takes place early, then pupation occurs by the end of summer. Autumn beetles do not come out, remaining to winter in the cradle of the pupa, but some individuals, if the weather is sunny and dry, fly out of their shelter.
Such beetles hide in secluded places for the winter, and in the spring they are the very first to fly out and begin to lead an active lifestyle long before the bulk of these beetles begin to fly. The larvae that emerged from late oviposition remain for the winter at the third instar, and after overwintering, pupate in the spring. Due to such a mixed cycle of life, in nature one can simultaneously meet insects at different stages of development.
Often the larvae of the bronze are confused with the larva of the cockchafer, which harm plants by eating rhizomes. The color of the body of both insects is the same, but the legs of the beetle larva are much longer, the head is larger and the jaws with which you need to gnaw the living tissue of plants are larger.
Insects are active during the day in sunny weather. In cloudy and cloudy weather, they are sleepy, often freeze motionless on plants. From the cold, they hide in shelters and under the leaves.
Social structure and reproduction
To find a mate, beetles use their bright outfit, pheromone enzymes, and growths on their antennae . They have the form of a mace of several plates and can open like a fan. Such antennae are very sensitive and help male individuals in search of partners. After the end of the marriage relationship, the life path of the male ends.
Females lay their eggs in rotten stumps, fallen trees, humus, compost, in anthills, after which they die. After a couple of weeks, larvae emerge from white-yellow eggs and immediately begin to feed on organic plant debris, rotten leaves, rotting wood, and dead plant roots. In the process of maturation, the larva passes through three stages through two molts.
The shape of the larva is C-shaped. The thick body is narrowed towards the head, cream-colored, its length is 4-6 cm. The head is about 3 mm, there are four teeth on the wide and short jaws. There are also teeth on the lower jaws, outside they are equipped with a palp. The jaws are quite powerful. Insects bite into rotting residues and grind them with their jaws, helping to process the compost.
The antennae are short and thick and consist of four segments. The anal end has two rows of sharp spines. The body is covered with bristles. The legs are short with appendages in the form of claws. With their help, it is difficult to move around.
Golden bronze caterpillar with greater agility, wriggling, moves on its back.
After the end of the third instar, the larva pupates where it fed. The cocoon of the chrysalis is oval and looks like a beetle. The caterpillar creates its cocoon-cradle from soil, decaying wood, its feces, sticking them together with secretory fluid. It is secreted from the anal end of the abdomen. To create a cocoon, the larva uses its tiny paws. After half a month, an adult emerges from the pupa.
Natural enemies of golden bronzes
The larvae of golden bronze are often live in an anthill. Badgers, foxes and other wild animals break through anthills in winter to find tidbits — larvae of bronze.
Adult insects are often hunted by birds, among them:
- black-fronted shrike;
Moles, representatives of the mustelid family: ferrets, can eat caterpillars , martens, weasels. Bronzes can go to dinner for hedgehogs, lizards or frogs.
Insects – scolia – cause particular harm to these lamellar. The female of this hymenoptera sticks her sting into the larva of the bronze, but not just like that, but in a special place – the abdominal nerve center, which is responsible for the movement of the insect. The scolia victim remains alive, but paralyzed. So it does not deteriorate, as long as possible. This predatory wasp lays an egg on the abdomen of the larva. The larva that hatches from it does not immediately eat its prey. First, less important organs are used, gradually it reaches the nervous and circulatory systems, eventually eating them too.
A person who protects his plantings in every possible way and manually, as well as with the help of chemistry, destroys the beetles themselves, and at the same time the larvae, often confusing them with other similar larvae of the cockchafer.
The fact that they do not need to raise their elytra during flight allows them to quickly take off from plants, avoiding encounters with the enemy.
Population and species status
This type of insect in the world quite common and not in danger, but it can die as a result of the fight against other insects with insecticides. The damage caused by the bronze to agriculture is insignificant, since most fruit trees and berry bushes fade by the time the bronze leaves.
Flower gardens suffer the most. Individual individuals that have wintered already in the imago stage fly out earlier and can slightly damage flowers, young shoots, and plant buds. Adults can damage the crop of mulberries, grapes, cherries, sweet cherries, raspberries.
The insect is widespread throughout Europe and is found almost everywhere in Asia, excluding desert areas. This species is not rare, although according to some observations, in areas with developed industry, there may be a violation in the sex ratio of insects (males are about three times larger), and their size may be slightly smaller than that of individuals in ecologically clean systems.
The beautiful emerald green golden bronze is often exterminated by gardeners, although it does not do much harm to plants. You can make interesting observations about the life of this insect with children by placing the beetle in a large glass vessel or aquarium. Flowers, fruits and sweet juice can be given as food.