Yes, but look: It probably won't kill you.

Plinthocoelium suaveolens
Plinthocoelium suaveolens

We did say "probably," yeah.

Because, ah, maybe one of these beetles will be flying around, and it'll be small enough to fit inside your mouth that's gaping stupidly open due to 1) the surprise of seeing a bright green beetle flying toward you and/or 2) your sorry state of garden-party drunkenness among similarly inebriated citizens all on a golden afternoon.

And so in it flies, this beetle, not meaning any harm and too distracted by its internal buggy agenda to swerve in time, right into the depths of your moist, halitositic, possibly alcohol-tainted maw. Where it promptly lodges throatwise and causes you to choke all the way to death.

We, ah, just wouldn't want to rule out such circumstances, you know? To create some false, misleading illusion.
Because, that? Ever so unjournalistic.


Anyway, this thing is called a Bumelia Borer.
Or, scientifically, Plinthocoelium suaveolens.

Not that that name does you more good than just "bright iridescent green and kinda long beetle with red legs." Except that, now, if you mention it to other people and those people are familiar with the term Bumelia Borer – or, less likely, Plinthocoelium suaveolens – then they'll know exactly what you're talking about.

Ah, science! Ah, taxonomy!

Anyway, there are a lot of these out and about, lately, so we figured we'd mention it. And they're pretty much harmless, except to the Bumelia, Tupelo, and Mulberry trees their larvae feed upon – and, yes, that's only when the bugs are all pale and vermiform. But you should also note that, according to Mike Quinn's handy Texas Beetle Information website, "Members of this genus … give off an alarm pheromone when disturbed ... causing conspecifics in the vicinity to take flight." Which last detail surely increases the likelihood of our initial garden-party-fatality scenario.

This particular specimen was found, and its picture snapped, by Debra Broz.

Not that that name does you more good than being told that Broz runs the Pump Project Art Complex. Which has nothing to do with the beetle we've just identified for you, really, but a lot to do with the exhibition of work by local artists – work that's sometimes as brilliant as the chitin of a Bumelia Borer, as sublime as the repose of a golden-eyed lacewing on a familiar windowsill in the light of a full Texas moon.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle