Alice Springs Fauna •

Pictured is one of the species of Soft-winged Flower Beetle (genus Carphurus, family Melyridae), from Alice Springs in Central Australia.

Soft-winged Flower Beetle (genus Carphurus), Alice Springs NT
Soft-winged Flower Beetle (genus Carphurus), Alice Springs NT

It has been suggested that the specimen pictured here is Carphurus cyaneipennis2.

The Carphurus cyaneipennis identification has been based on…

I have followed the key in the revision of Lea 1909: https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/14686518#page/404/mode/1up .

The original description by Macleay is here:
https://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/54870#page/281/mode/1up . The shape of antenna seems to match well, so I think this identification is a good attempt, despite the locality so far away from where the species was described. It is an attempt, however. The knowledge about Australian Carphurini is old and very fragmented, and there are no modern papers on the subject.

Gabriele Franzini (gabrif), iNaturalist2
Soft-winged Flower Beetle (genus Carphurus), Alice Springs NT
Soft-winged Flower Beetle (genus Carphurus), Alice Springs NT

Their common name is sometimes spelt as Soft-wing Flower Beetle, they are found mainly in Australia and Papua-New Guinea. They also have a common name of Pollen Beetle and are part of a group known as Malachite Beetles.

They are predators of soft body small insects. They will also feed on lerps (insects) and the honey-dew produced by the lerps. In the following you can see it checking out an old lerp case on the dead leaf.

This Soft-winged Flower Beetle was rescued from a swimming pool in Alice Springs. You can just see the water slowly dripping off the beetle, pooling below the abdomen.

The pictured Soft-winged Flower Beetle is approximately 7-8 mm in length from the head to the tip of the abdomen.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Hexapoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Subclass: Pterygota
  • Order: Coleoptera
  • Suborder: Polyphaga
  • Superfamily: Cleroidea
  • Family: Melyridae
  • Subfamily: Malachiinae
  • Genus: Carphurus
  • Species:
    • Carphurus alterniventris Fairmaire, 1879 
    • Carphurus angustatus Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus apicalis W.J. Macleay, 1872 
    • Carphurus apiciventris Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus armiceps Lea, 1929 
    • Carphurus armicollis Lea, 1929 
    • Carphurus armipennis Fairmaire, 1879 
    • Carphurus atricapillis Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus atronitens Fairmaire, 1879 
    • Carphurus azureipennis W.J. Macleay, 1872 
    • Carphurus balteatus Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus basipennis Fairmaire, 1879 
    • Carphurus basiventris Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus bifoveatus Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus blackburni Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus brevipennis (Schenkling, 1902) 
    • Carphurus cervicalis Germar, 1848 
    • Carphurus collaris Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus compsus Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus cribratus Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus cristatifrons Fairmaire, 1877 
    • Carphurus cyaneipennis W.J. Macleay, 1872 
    • Carphurus cyanopterus (Boheman, 1858) 
    • Carphurus diophthalmus Fairmaire, 1877 
    • Carphurus elegans Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus elongatus W.J. Macleay, 1872 
    • Carphurus excisus Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus facialis Fairmaire, 1877 
    • Carphurus fasciculatus Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus fasciipennis Fairmaire, 1879 
    • Carphurus fossor Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus frenchi Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus gallinaceus Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus incurvipennis Lea, 1929 
    • Carphurus insigniceps Lea, 1922 
    • Carphurus interocularis Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus invenustus Lea, 1902 
    • Carphurus kurandanus Pic, 1918 
    • Carphurus laesifrons Fairmaire, 1877 
    • Carphurus latipennis Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus latus Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus lepidus Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus longicollis Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus longipes Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus longus Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus macrops Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus maculicollis Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus maculiventris Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus marginiventris Fairmaire, 1879 
    • Carphurus micropterus Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus myrmecophilus Lea, 1919 
    • Carphurus nigrivarius Lea, 1929 
    • Carphurus nigrofasciatus Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus nubipennis Fairmaire, 1879 
    • Carphurus opacipennis Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus pallidifrons Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus pallidipennis W.J. Macleay, 1872 
    • Carphurus philonthoides Fairmaire, 1877 
    • Carphurus pictipes Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus pisoniae Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus pravus Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus punctatus Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus purpureipennis Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus rhagonychinus Fairmaire, 1879 
    • Carphurus sagittifer Lea, 1929 
    • Carphurus segmentarius Fairmaire, 1877 
    • Carphurus semirufus Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus simulator Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus spinipennis Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus strigicollis Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus tachyporoides Fairmaire, 1877 
    • Carphurus telephoroides Fairmaire, 1877 
    • Carphurus testaceipes Lea, 1895 
    • Carphurus tricolor Lea, 1921 
    • Carphurus triimpressus Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus uncinatus Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus variipennis Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus venustus Kirsch , 1877 
    • Carphurus vigilans Lea, 1909 
    • Carphurus wilsoni Lea, 1929 
    • Carphurus xanthochrous Fairmaire, 1877

      (82 species listed on Atlas of Living Australia at time of writing – 23 Oct 2023)
Soft-winged Flower Beetle (genus Carphurus), Alice Springs NT
Soft-winged Flower Beetle (genus Carphurus), Alice Springs NT

Footnote & References

  1. Many thanks to Isidor Plonski for ID, member of Australasian Beetles Only, Facebook group, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1180404322409639/
  2. Carphurus, ausemade, iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/observations/188959586
    Many thanks to Gabriele Franzini (gabrif) for his input/explanation on the observation.
  3. Carphurus Erichson, 1840, Atlas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/taxa/9cf9401a-5a38-448f-b951-9b4c0c2e9065
  4. Genus Carphurus, iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/375888-Carphurus
  5. Yellow Soft-winged Flower Beetle – Carphurus sp., Brisbane Insects and Spiders, https://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_beetles/YellowSoftWingedFlowerBeetle.htm

Alice Springs FaunaAlice Springs Native Bees Alice Springs Beetles Alice Springs Birds Alice Springs Gastropods (Gastropoda) Alice Springs Insects Alice Springs Marsupials Alice Springs Reptiles Alice Springs Spiders

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