Blue Monkey Beetle
Blue Monkey Beetle
Scelophysa trimeni cropped by Julie Anne Workman (CC BY-SA 3.0)
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Scelophysa trimeni, or the 'Blue Monkey Beetle', is a species of Scarab Beetle that's endemic to South Africa. These beetles are the primary pollinators to some of the endemic flowers; these include African daisies and some species in the Mesembryanthemum and Heliophila genera. For this reason, they serve a crucial role in the ecosystem. Did you know? Monkey beetles are some of the best fliers! Clania glenlyonensis can match the speed of a honeybee.
Extremely important pollinators for the endemic flowers of South Africa.
They might eat the pollen of some flowers, and can tear petals with their feet while they do this. Not to worry, damage is aesthetic and plants survive.
An adult Blue Monkey Beetle is considered small. They're roughly 10mm (1cm). A characteristic of these beetles is the long back legs, particularly notable in males. These also are very hairy! They are most often seen headfirst in the disks of flowers, devouring the nectar and pollen (while covered in it!). This species shows some colour variation too. Males are an aqua blue with grey-blue hairs covering the whole body. Females are brown-green and with some shorter grey-brown hairs. Thus far, there seems to be no available information on the behaviour and ecology of monkey beetle larvae. It's assumed they develop underground, feeding on the rotting debris of plants.
Tearing of petals. Daisies may look less attractive. Insect legs may be visible, poking from the discs of daisy during an infestation.
These beautiful beetles are endemic to South Africa. They're restricted to the Western Coast of the region and are thought to be common to the Knersvlakte and Port Nolloth areas.
We don't suggest treating your garden for these beetles. Endemic flowers rely on these beetles for pollination, hence reproduction (more plant babies)! It's also believed that the larvae of these beetles do considerable work that helps break down organic matter, helping it turn into fertile soil at a quicker rate.