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Flatheaded Hardwood Borer (Dicera spp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Flatheaded Hardwood Borer

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Image Credit: Trever F. from Dubois, PA
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Image Credit: Trever F. from Dubois, PA
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The metallic sheen on Flatheaded Hardwood Borer Beetles encourages a closer look of this squat forest-dweller.

Updated: 03/23/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Flatheaded Hardwood Borers are everything their name suggests. The head has a low profile with the eyes on each side. The beetle's larvae feed on the inside of hardwood tree trunks, leaving behind tunnels etched in the outer cambium, just under the bark. These small worm-like larvae dig into the wood, leaving behind a pile of frass (feces) on the outside of the trunk that looks a lot like sawdust. Most species of this genus are not significant threats or pests to the tree populations they inhabit.

Adults are dark with a metallic sheen all over. Some species have green patches, others are highly speckled. All members of Dicera have a tapered abdomen that comes to a tip. The elytra (wing coverings) do not fully connect at the tip, so the insect may appear to have two short 'tails'. Look for them in deciduous, evergreen and mixed hardwood forests.

General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Buprestidae
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          Genus: Dicera
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            Species: spp.
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Dicera spp.
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 26mm (0.35" to 1.02")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gold, brown, green
Descriptors: metallic, bronze, copper, gold, shiny, luster, speckled, flattened, smashed head, flying, tree pest

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 9mm (0.4in) and 26mm (1.0in)
Lo: 9mm
Md: 17.5mm
Hi: 26mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Flatheaded Hardwood Borer may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Flatheaded Hardwood Borer. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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