Usually coming out into the open during November and December looking for food and a mate, these beetles are most commonly found in and around gum trees. Having spent most of the year as larvae underground, the holiday period is their time to shine (literally!).
Over the last ten years, it seems that sightings of these beautiful insects have dwindled exponentially, with many researchers on the case as to the reason why. With 35 Christmas beetle species being affected, it is beginning to become a concerning case.
Some evidence suggests that habitat loss and the loss of gum trees and bushland in suburban areas is the leading cause for the Christmas beetle disappearance.
The University of Sydney, along with Invertebrates Australia have developed a register to track the AWOL Christmas beetle and work out the exact problems these beetles are facing, along with how many beetles are actually left.
Because there is currently no formal monitoring program, the best way to help out with research is by uploading a photo to the iNaturalist app.
If you do find a Christmas beetle this summer, take a quick pic and upload it, and hopefully we'll get some answers about this mysterious disappearance!
Are Christmas beetles a problem?
Christmas beetles are only a problem to young eucalypt plants as they eat in a frenzy during spring to summer every year. With gums being their main source of food, eucalypt plantations can easily be affected.
Are Christmas beetles native to Australia?
Christmas beetles are native to Australia, with 35 species that range from gold and brown to vibrant purples and greens. Christmas beetles are part of the scarab family and have shiny, bright exoskeletons.
What attracts Christmas beetles?
Christmas beetles appear during the end of the year for mating and food purposes. Appearing most often at dusk or early evening, these beetles can be attracted to bright lights, however you’ll most likely find them congregating at the nearest gum tree to eat their leaves.
Are Christmas beetles loud?
Christmas beetles are very clumsy fliers and often ‘buzz’ as they whizz around looking for food.