Photo of the week – A Christmas beetle battle, Rennick, Vic

Christmas in Australia often means Christmas beetles, and a bunch of hungry Christmas beetles means a Christmas battle!

Christmas beetles are from the scarab beetle family, with a various species of different colours found around Australia. These green ones are likely to be from the genus Diphucephala (possibly D. colaspidoides).

Christmas beetle larvae can stay in the ground for a year or more before they move closer to the surface to pupate and emerge as adults. Once free, they fly to the nearest food source to feed. Males outnumber females by a long way and there’s stiff competition for the best shoots, leaves and flowers as they try to knock their rivals from their perch.

Hopefully your Christmas lunch is a bit more civilised!

A Christmas beetle battle

This species also seemed partial to the petals of Purple Flag (Patersonia occidentalis).

Christmas beetle on Purple Flag flower

Jonathan Tuck
Jonathan Tuck
jonathan.tuck@natureglenelg.org.au