The Buprestidae (Jewel Beetles or Metallic Wood Borers) are one of the most interesting, large and well know families among Coleoptera. Their imago (adult phase) is usually characterized by very tough, colourful teguments. They live on trees, bushes and herbaceous plants, especially in hot and sunny countries. Their number decrease quicly from Tropics to high latitudes, but they live in any Biogeographycal Region.Their larval phases are very different. Larva of Latipalpis plana - ItalyThey are white or yellowish, with a flattened body and head (brownish), and usually live boring wood or bark of trunks, logs, branches and roots of many plants. Someone can become quite noxious to agriculture and especially arboriculture. Other larvae live in stalks of herbaceous plants (some Acmaeoderini, many Sphenopterini, etc.), or mining leaves (Trachys and related genera). In a group of Buprestidae we find larvae living freely in the soil, eating roots of any kind of plants (Julodis and related genera)
No other family of Beetles, except, perhaps, Chrysomelidae, is distinguished to be so rich of colourful species. Why, during their evolution, these Insects became so gaily-coloured? For several species we can find specific reasons: mimicry and cryptism, but in many other Buprestidae we must find another explanation. The reason is very simple and obvious: unlike many other Insects, especially among Coleoptera, using preferably other senses, they can recognize other specimens ot their own species using their organs of sight. When an adult is looking for food, a male is looking for a female, or a female is trying to find a host plant for the next generation, they probably are helped to reach the right area by their smell, but then they must use their eyes to identify the right target. This is probably the most important reason that makes Buprestids typical diurnal species (there are few important exceptions, like some black species of Melanophila and Merimna) and give to the body of many closely related species so many different colourings. A different colouration is also used by many species of some genera to differentiate males to females. This and few other characteristics determine the sexual dimorphism in this family of Coleoptera.