Cotinis nitida

Geographic Range

Green June beetles are a Nearctic species native to the United States. Their range extends between New York and Florida to Nebraska and Texas. (Bartlett, 2020)

Habitat

Larvae live in the soil underground. Adults live on their host plants. They can be found on lawns, fields, and mountains. They inhabit extensive habitats. (Alcock, 2019; Young, 1995)

Physical Description

Green June beetles are approximately 15-27 mm in length. They are smaller than green fig beetles. They can be metallic green to gold in color. Their sides are gold in color and their heads, undersides, and legs are metallic green. Larvae are pale white in color. Male and female green June beetles are nearly identical to each other. (Bartlett, 2020)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • sexes alike

Development

Larvae emerge from eggs in the soil after prolonged rain. This typically takes approximately 14 days. Three instars of development occur. They overwinter deep in the soil. After overwintering, they pupate and undergo metamorphosis. The adults emerge during June and July. (Bartlett, 2020; Young, 1995)

Reproduction

Competition between male beetles may be so tight that some males may attempt to mate with previously mated females. (Alcock, 2015)

Females lay spherical, grayish colored eggs in nutrient-rich soil. Green June beetles utilize internal fertilization and sexual reproduction. They utilize seasonal breeding. (Bartlett, 2020)

Green June beetles do not take care for their young.

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement

Lifespan/Longevity

Green June beetles live for about one year. They produce one generation per year. Adults are active from June through August. (Alcock, 2019; Bartlett, 2020)

  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    1 years

Behavior

Larvae primarily live underground in the soil. They are nocturnal and crawl to the surface every few nights. Larvae crawl on their backs with their legs in the air. Adults are diurnal and spend most of their time on their host plants. Adult green June beetles can fly. (Young, 1995)

Communication and Perception

Red milkweed beetles mostly communicate through pheromones. They use visual, tactile, and chemical senses of perception. (Landolt, 1990)

Food Habits

Adults consume sap, soft-skinned fruit, tomatoes, and corn in the milk stages. Adults also eat nectar, pollen, and leaves. They are not able to chew hard foods. Larvae eat decaying organic matter, roots, and rhizomes of a variety of plants. (Bartlett, 2020; Young, 1995)

  • Plant Foods
  • wood, bark, or stems
  • fruit
  • sap or other plant fluids

Predation

The most common predators of green June beetles are blue jays. Blue jays seem to selectively feed on female beetles. Common grackles and brown thrashers also prey on these beetles. (Alcock, 2015; Alcock, 2019)

  • Known Predators
    • blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata)
    • common grackles (Quiscalus quiscala)
    • brown thrashers (Toxostomum rufum)

Ecosystem Roles

Green June beetles feed on a variety of plants. They can damage the plants from which they feed, impacting other wildlife. (Young, 1995)

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Green June beetles have no known positive economic importance.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Adult green June beetles are a significant pest of orchards and vineyard fruits. Larvae may uproot and loosen the soil around plant roots in areas like golf courses, lawns, and pastures, which causes damage to the plants. (Bartlett, 2020)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status

Green June bugs are not currently endangered.

Contributors

Deena Hauze (author), Animal Diversity Web Staff.

Glossary

Nearctic

living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

agricultural

living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.

chemical

uses smells or other chemicals to communicate

diapause

a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.

diurnal
  1. active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
ectothermic

animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

fertilization

union of egg and spermatozoan

fossorial

Referring to a burrowing life-style or behavior, specialized for digging or burrowing.

frugivore

an animal that mainly eats fruit

herbivore

An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body

metamorphosis

A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.

motile

having the capacity to move from one place to another.

mountains

This terrestrial biome includes summits of high mountains, either without vegetation or covered by low, tundra-like vegetation.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.

nocturnal

active during the night

oviparous

reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

pheromones

chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species

polygynous

having more than one female as a mate at one time

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season

sexual

reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female

suburban

living in residential areas on the outskirts of large cities or towns.

tactile

uses touch to communicate

temperate

that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).

tropical savanna and grassland

A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.

savanna

A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.

temperate grassland

A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.

urban

living in cities and large towns, landscapes dominated by human structures and activity.

visual

uses sight to communicate

References

Alcock, J. 2019. The behaviour of Cotinis nitida Linnaeus, the green June beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae), on mowed lawns makes them especially vulnerable to bird predators. Journal of Natural History, 53:23-24: 1395-1399.

Alcock, J. 2015. The green June beetle (Cotinis nitida) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae): local variation in the beetle’s major avian predators and in the competition for mates. Journal of Natural History, 50:11-12: 661-667.

Bartlett, T. 2020. "Species Cotinis nitida - Green June Beetle" (On-line). Bug Guide. Accessed November 05, 2020 at https://bugguide.net/node/view/520.

Landolt, P. 1990. Trapping the Green June Beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) with Isopropanol. The Florida Entomologist, 73(2): 328-330. Accessed November 05, 2020 at https://www.jstor.org/stable/3494817.

Pszczolkowski, M., K. Hampton, D. Johnson. 2008. Sexual Characteristics in a Midwestern USA Population of Cotinis nitida Linnaeus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) and Consequences for Determining Gender. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 62(4): 527-534. Accessed November 04, 2020 at https://www.jstor.org/stable/27571158.

Young, O. 1995. Ground-Surface Activity of Cotinis nitida (L.) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Cetoniinae) Larvae in an Old-Field Habitat. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 49(3): 229-233. Accessed November 04, 2020 at https://www.jstor.org/stable/4009139.