beetle bombing….

8 Dec

Well…we really know it’s Christmas time. ….Not because of the arrival of  Mickey Mouse and his Friends on our neighbours front lawn…. or because the elves encouraging little kiddies to come and sit on skinny Santa’s lap in every shopping mall ….nor the impossible task of finding a carpark within a kilometre of the stores….

No… here in Aus we know it’s Christmas because of the shiny flying beetles that  dive bomb you when you’re at the BBQ, flock to the lights, and take every opportunity to swoop through an open door into the house, only to be found somewhere random, stuck on their backs in their death throws and unable to re-launch and escape.

 

Beetles

 

So I’ve been wondering ….who are these pretty,shiny and harmless Christmas creatures … (I mean ….really) ?? I know we call them Christmas Beetles  but  I thought that was because of their colours. By now you will all realise I am certainly no nature expert….. so you guessed it …I googled!! and thanks to the CSRIO I discovered:

  • The Christmas beetle’s formal name is  Anoplognathus
  • They have a seasonal life cycle, which is either annual or biennial depending on the climate
  • Christmas really IS the silly season for them, because all they do is spend  December to January mating and then laying eggs into the soil surface.
  • They are large glossy beetles often seen clustered on the leaves of eucalypt trees during summer.
  • Larvae develop through three stages , and in warmer areas of the country spend one winter in the soil, (or  two winters in cooler climates).
  • They emerge in several waves late November through to February depending on species, rainfall and number of life cycles they need to go through.
  • They launch late in the afternoon and can fly distances of several kilometres. Most flights occur at dusk, with beetles often attracted to outdoor lighting (hence crashing into anything light)
  • They come in colours ranging from dark brown to iridescent green
  • Thunderstorms can trigger mass emergence as the ground becomes moist enough for adults to escape .

So THAT is why these strange little creatures have been particularly prominent these past couple of weeks ..as if the thunderstorms are not enough to deal with.

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