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How do you identify an emerald ash borer?

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Quick Answer

Adult emerald ash borers are easily identifiable through their bright, metallic emerald green coloring and their linear, cylindrical shape. Other beetles in the Buprestidae genera have a rounder, fatter shape than emerald ash borers.

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Full Answer

The emerald ash borer, which belongs to the Agrilus genus, is one of 53 Buprestidae genera found in North America. However, the distinctive shape of the emerald ash borer makes it easy to identify among its relatives. The body shape is elongated and slim, while the prothorax base sits backwards, like a lobe. A typical emerald ash borer has a distinctly emerald metallic coloring, with the elytra having a duller or darker green color. Various amounts of brassy or coppery hues may appear within the overall green color. These colors tend to be more obvious on the pronotum and ventral areas. Some emerald ash borers may present with a completely coppery red or rusty coloring, while some others may be bluish-green without any rusty overtones at all.

The length of the emerald ash borer is around half an inch, making it larger than others in the Agrilus genus. It is also the only species in that genus to have a bright red abdomen dorsal surface. While this is probably its most distinguishing characteristic,, it can only be seen when the beetle spreads its wings.

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