Green June Beetles (Cotinis nitida), common scarabaeid beetles in the subfamily Cetoniinae, are found in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Adults are 20 to 23 mm long. Larvae (grubs) feed on humus and roots in lawns and gardens and have the habit of crawling on their backs. Adults, which are active during the day, feed on foliage, flowers, and some fruit. Three other Cotinis species occur in the central and southern United States. (White 1983)
The Green June Beetle is of economic importance as a common pest of ripe or wounded tree and vineyard fruit. In the southeastern United States, where viticulture is an emerging industry, the proximity of pasture and other grassy larval habitats can lead to high numbers of these beetles in vineyards. Besides directly damaging the berries, Green June Beetles taint them with odorous secretions. Damaged fruits and the beetles themselves may be inadvertently harvested, contaminating the crop. Adult Green June Beetles normally feed on soft, ripe fruits, but the introduced Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica)--first detected in North America in 1916 and now established throughout most of the eastern United States and continuing its spread into the Great Plains and south central states--facilitates access to foods on which the Green June Beetle could not otherwise feed. Whereas Green June Beetle mandibles are bluntly spatulate, non-opposable, and specialized for feeding on fruit pulp, plant exudates, and similar soft foods, Japanese Beetles have sharply pointed, opposable mandibles used mainly to skeletonize leaves, but also used to bite through intact skins of ripe fruits. Japanese Beetles facilitate feeding on grapes by Green June Beetles not only by biting through the skin and providing access to the pulp, but also by by eliciting yeast-mediated fermentation volatiles that Green June Beetles exploit in finding hosts.
(Hammons et al. 2008, 2009, 2010)
Pszczolkowski et al. (2008) discuss the limits of characters commonly used by researchers to distinguish male and female Green June Beetles.
Aktakka et al. (2011) used Green June Beetles to develop a prototype system for scavenging energy from a flying insect, with an eye toward using this energy in the fabrication of "hybrid insect vehicles", cyborg insects that could be controlled via neural, optical, or thermal stimulators, with the power for the inserted microsystem supplied by harvesting the insect’s available mechanical, thermal, or biological energy. The vision of investigators working on such "micro-air-vehicles" (MAVs), whether purely synthetic robots or cyborg insects, is that they could be used for search-and-rescue operations, surveillance, monitoring of hazardous environments, and detection of explosives by taking advantage of their small size and the networked communication possible between multiple MAVs.
- Hammons, D.L., S.K. Kurtural, and D.A. Potter. 2008. Japanese beetles facilitate feeding by green June beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) on ripening grapes. Environmental Entomology 37: 608-614.
- Hammons, D.L., S.K. Kurtural, and D.A. Potter. 2010. Phenological resistance of grapes to the green June beetle, an obligate fruit-eating scarab. Annals of Applied Biology 156(2): 271-279.
- Hammons, D.L., S.K. Kurtural,, S. Kaan, M.C. Newman, et al. 2009. Invasive Japanese beetles facilitate aggregation and injury by a native scarab pest of ripening fruits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.) 106(10): 3686-3691.
- Pszczolkowski, M.A., K. Hampton, and D. Johnson. 2008. Sexual characteristics in a Midwestern U.S.A. population of Cotinis nitida Linnaeus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) and consequences for determining gender. Coleopterists Bulletin 62(4): 527-534.
- White, R.E. 1983. A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
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