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jewel beetle

any of some 15,000 species of beetles (insect order Coleoptera), mostly distributed in tropical regions, that are among the most brilliantly coloured insects. These beetles are long, narrow, and flat, with a tapering abdomen. The wing covers (elytra) of some species are metallic blue, copper, green, or black in colour. Highly metallic beetles were used as living jewelry by both women and men during the Victorian Age. The brightly coloured body of other species is hidden by the dull dark wing covers and is exposed only during flight or from a ventral (bottom) view. A predator chasing a metallic-coloured flying beetle may not recognize it as prey when it stops flying and becomes a dull, dark-coloured lump on a branch

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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