The iridescent Chrysochroa fulgidissima jewel beetle

The Kid Should See This

Chrysochroa fulgidissima, often called the Yamato tamamushi (ヤマトタマムシ) beetle in Japan, is famous for its beautiful iridescent colors. Japan-based insect enthusiast Fumihiko Hirai filmed the jewel beetle taking off and flying in the video above. From this 2011 research on the insect’s structural coloration:

The Japanese jewel beetle, C. fulgidissima, has beautiful, brilliant green elytra with longitudinal purplish stripes. Because of their striking iridescence, this jewel beetle was used as ornament in ancient Japanese times. Indeed, its Japanese name, Tamamushi-no-zushi, derives from archaic Japanese ‘Tama’, meaning jewels or beautiful things and ‘Mushi’, meaning small animals. The famous seventh-century Japanese national treasure Tamamushi-no-zushi, the beetle wing shrine, was decorated with innumerous iridescent elytra of C. fulgidissima.

yamato tamamushi

Plus, some additional insect info from Wikipedia:

Buprestidae is a family of beetles known as jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring beetles because of their glossy iridescent colors. Larvae of this family are known as flatheaded borers. The family is among the largest of the beetles, with some 15,500 species known in 775 genera. In addition, almost 100 fossil species have been described…

A variety of bright colors are known, often in complicated patterns. The iridescence common to these beetles is not due to pigments in the exoskeleton, but instead is caused by structural coloration, in which microscopic texture in their cuticle selectively reflects specific frequencies of light in particular directions. This is the same effect that makes a compact disc reflect multiple colors.

See up-close photos of it here.

Previously from Harai: Jewel bugs and beetles take off in slow motion. Also: Slow-motion ladybugs look like they can’t fly before they do and the Green Dragontail Butterfly in slow motion.

Bonus: More iridescence and more nanostructures on TKSST.

Rion Nakaya