Lamprodila festiva despite its small size (5-10 mm) might be one of the most spectacular jewel beetle (Buprestidae) in Central Europe. The species is native to Hungary, although it was discovered only in 1999 near the southwestern border in a juniper (Juniperus communis) woodland. Its known host plants are the members of the coniferous family of Cupressaceae. Till now we did not find it elsewhere in the country, but last year some amateur entomologists reported its presence from different points of Budapest, always related to dry whitecedars (Thuja occidentalis) and false cypress (Chamaecyparis sp.). As the news spread I looked for the signs of the beetles late in the season. Surprisingly, I find dozens of exit holes in gardens, even in the district when I live!
This year‘s spring I have collected pieces of cut Thuja trees along the streets. Galleries of the larvae were present in high number but the insects were already inside the wood, probably in their pupal chambers.
I waited a few minutes and the beetle tried to leave. The moment of the coming out was really short so I could take pictures only with the peeking head:
Canon EOS 5DII + MP-E65/2.8 lens + diffused Speedlite 270EX flash
I’ve also visited the place to shoot them in their habitat.
Two focus stacks for a better depth of field:
Focus stack of 66 exposures with Canon EOS 5DII + MP-E65/2.8 lens. More info.
This species is not alone on the woods, I found individuals of the tiny parasitic wasp Metacolus unifasciatus (Hymenoptera, Pteromalidae). It is not clear to me if they are related but there’s a chance.