The Christmas Beetle is a comparatively large species of beetle and also a type of scarab beetle. The name derives from their tendency to gather in swarms in the greatest numbers at around the time of Christmas.Christmas Beetle's name comes from their tendency to swarm in greatest numbers at the approximate time of Christmas. Click To Tweet
This insect averages roughly 0.8 in (2 cm) in length and is endemic to Australia.
The adult Christmas Beetle is active during the summer months. They will inhabit both rural and urban areas indiscriminately and are considered noisy, clumsy fliers.
Christmas Beetle Physical Characteristics and Habits
This beetle may present different color patterns but the majority of individuals will be a glossy brown. A small percentage will display other colors. However, the largest percentage of these individuals will be a bright green.
The legs are clawed and covered with numerous sharp barbs. The forelegs of the Christmas Beetle are of uneven lengths. This is most likely an evolutionary trait to enable them to better cling to thin leaves.
This species is principally nocturnal in nature. Who does not like a good midnight hunt?
Christmas Beetle Life Cycle
The larvae of the Christmas Beetle lives underground. They feed on decaying vegetation and various plant roots. Of these, they appear to prefer endemic grasses but will also feed on local lawns, pastures, and even crops.
At the height of their swarming, this can pose a significant threat to local farmers, as well as to the lawns of homeowners. The larvae move to the surface in early spring and emerge as adults a few weeks later. Typically, this mass emergence begins following spring storms. This softens the ground, making their emergence easier.
Among adults, their preferred food is eucalyptus leaves.