Saturday, December 8, 2012

Christmas beetles arrive

Christmas beetles have made a welcome appearance to our lights over recent nights, the photos below are beetles that appeared tonight.

This attractive beetles belong to the Scarabaeidae family and are in the genus Anoplognathus. We have over thirty species of Christmas beetles in Australia, many are found along the east coast. In some regions they have become more abundant where land clearing has provided additional grasslands which host the beetles' larvae.

The life cycle of these beetles is the same basic cycle as most beetles. In this case, eggs are laid underground in grasslands adjacent to eucalypt trees or forests. The larvae feed upon grass roots and their growth is dependant on soil temperature. Those in warmer climates may emerge a year later, whilst those in cooler regions may spend two years underground. The larvae are crescent-shaped with a pale, reddish-brown head and three pairs of legs, but can be quite difficult to distinguish from other beetle larvae.
A green Christmas beetle, Anoplognathus smaragdinus
The face of Anoplognathus smaragdinus
After pupating, the adults time their emergence with warmer conditions and are also stimulated by rainfall. Different species will emerge at different times throughout the summer; perhaps to avoid direct competition. Other factors can influence the exact timing of their emergence, such as seasonal variations in weather patterns. Most Christmas beetles emerge from November to February, but as we know, many appear in late December.
Anoplognathus porosus 
Christmas beetles are good flyers and can cover distances of several kilometres. Many fly at dusk, but they are often attracted to lights after dark and can end up buzzing around the front porch.

Anoplognathus porosus about to take off

Anoplognathus porosus in flight

1 comment:

  1. This is Year 2 again, we think that Christmas Beatles are very cute. The beatles look very interesting. We are wondering how do they reproduce? We think they have beautiful colours. We really like the pictures of the Christmas Beatles. We think they are the prettiest beatles in the world.