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Plusiotis (=Chrysina) gloriosa
Range:  southwest United States
Size:  25 - 30 mm

Plusiotis (=Chrysina) gloriosa is a member of the scarab subfamily "rutelinae".  Taxonomically, they are considered to be more closely related to the dynastinae than any of the other scarab subfamilies.  P. gloriosa, with its iridescent green body and metallic stripes, is perhaps the most distinctively marked of all native US beetles.  It is widespread in the American southwest, ranging from Texas to Arizona, and into northern Mexico.  It lives in association with high elevation juniper forests.  The adult beetles feed on juniper leaves in the wild, although in captivity they will accept slices of pear.  Other fruits such as apple and banana seem to be largely ignored by them.  The larvae feed on decaying hardwoods.

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There are four species of Plusiotis native to the US - P. gloriosa, P. beyeri, P. lecontei and P. woodi.  Many more species exist farther south in Mexico and Central and South America.  Some of them, such as P. resplendens, are completely metallic gold, while others are solidly silver.  Others have a combination of the two, having a gold pronotum and silver elytra.
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Plusiotis (=Chrysina) gloriosa

 
Plusiotis (=Chrysina) gloriosa - Image  C. Campbell
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Here is a P. gloriosa which I photographed in a conifer forest on Mount Lemmon just outside of Tucson, Arizona.  It was found inside a very old, decaying willow (Salix) log.  Presumably, that is where it spent its larval stage.  Plusiotis is a rather slow moving species and is easy to photograph, though it is hard to convey the true brilliance of its coloration from a mere photo.
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Plusiotis is truly one of the "living jewels" of the order Coleoptera.  The shining examples shown here are a pair.  The female is the larger of the two, partly obscured by the substantially smaller male.  In the genus Plusiotis, the female is typically the larger of the sexes.
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Plusiotis (=Chrysina) gloriosa (pair) - Image  C. Campbell

 
Plusiotis (=Chrysina) gloriosa (female) - Image  C. Campbell
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Another view of a female P. gloriosa.  One of the most interesting features of this species  is that it has light blue eyes.  The eyes of most scarabs are simply dark brown or black.  A closely related genus called Pelidnota also has blue eyes.
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