Where Have All the Christmas Beetles Gone?

Christmas Beetles appear to have declined in recent years – but have they really? The Christmas Beetle Count on iNaturalist is seeking to answer this important question. Just take a break from Christmas celebrations, and log your observations on iNaturalist and they will become part of the Count.

Christmas Beetle on the Budawang Coast, December 2023. Photo: Andersonj.

In most of Australia, the term “Christmas beetle” refers to large beetles in the genus Anoplognathus. There are 36 Christmas beetle species, almost all of which are only found in Australia. Christmas beetles are most common along the east coast and are found over most of the continent, except for a curious absence in the south west.

Generally assoicated with Christmas, the beetles emerge in early summer and seek out mates, sometimes pausing to munch on eucalyptus leaves. Females lay their eggs in the soil. After a few weeks, these eggs hatch into chunky white or cream coloured larvae often known as “curl grubs”.