Christmas beetle is a name commonly applied to the Australian beetle genus Anoplognathus. They are known as Christmas beetles because they are abundant in both urban and rural areas close to Christmas. Christmas beetles are large (20–30 mm long) members of the scarab family that are noisy and clumsy fliers. They typically have elytra that are dark or light brown, or green, while some species have a green-yellow iridescence.
What do Christmas Beetles look like? Christmas Beetles are easy to spot; their shimmering metallic bodies set them apart. A lot of Christmas beetles come in golden brown or green colours, but the further north you travel in Australia, the more amazing their colours can be. In northern Queensland, you can even find Christmas beetles that are violet or have colourings a bit like an opal.
There are around 35 different types of Christmas beetle found in Australia. Most grow to about 3 centimetres in length.
Where are Christmas Beetles found? Christmas Beetles are found across Australia, except our deserts. They especially love woodlands. Christmas beetles emerge each summer around Christmas time after waiting underground all year.
Heavy spring rains and thunderstorms provide the perfect conditions for Christmas beetles to hatch out of the soil. Long droughts and very dry conditions make it harder for their babies to hatch.
Christmas beetles emerge each summer around Christmastime after waiting underground all year. They are easy to spot; their shimmering metallic bodies set them apart from a lot of the insect world. There are around 35 different types of Christmas beetle found in Australia. Most grow to about 3 centimetres in length. The most seen species of Christmas Beetle is Anoplognathus pallidicollis. It is brown in colour and grows up to 2 centimetres. It is found along the east coast of Australia from Queensland through to Victoria and some parts of South Australia.
If you leave a light on during hot summer nights, especially in the east of Australia you may find these nocturnal flying Christmas decorations in a bit of a frenzy in its glow. Christmas beetles are not the most coordinated critters in your backyard. After a big night of flying around bright streetlights they can get a little woozy, but Christmas beetles are very gentle buddies to have. If they land on you, it is a great opportunity to say hello and take a closer look at their beautiful colourings. Enjoy their beautiful colours, but if they overstay their welcome, just turn off your outside lights or pull down the blinds and they will know it is time to head home. Christmas beetles can take a hint.
The beetles have clawed legs covered in multiple barbs. Like all Anoplognathus species, the forelegs are of uneven lengths, possibly to better enable them to cling to thin Eucalyptus leaves.
Fun Facts: A Christmas beetle’s colouring comes from special layers of reflectors built into their hard shells. The Christmas beetle is a type of scarab beetle and is related to the Rhinoceros Beetle and Dung Beetle.
Here is a cameo appearance from the Rainbow Flower Beetle who in our humble opinion, should be called the Christmas Beetle.