Beetles (Order Coleoptera)

There are more kinds of beetles than any other group of animals. Almost a third of all animal species are beetles. In Australia alone, almost 23 000 different species have been named, but there may be as many as 80 000 Australian beetle species. Beetles belong to the Order Coleoptera.

Beetles are one of the most easily recognised groups of insects, despite their remarkable diversity of colour and shape. Even young children are able to identify ladybeetles and christmas beetles.

Beetles are one of the most successful groups of organisms on the planet, occupying most habitats and taking advantage of many food sources. One of the major factors contributing to the success of beetles is their compact body design and in particular their tough protective front wings.

Washing Beetles Phyllotocus rufipennis (Scarabaeidae)Thousands of Washing Beetles Phyllotocus rufipennis (Scarabaeidae) emerge in summer to feed on eucalypt blossoms but often mistakenly swarm on other white objects, such as drying washing, tennis players or even brides.

Adult Giant Pine Weevils, Eurhamphus fasciculatus (Curculionidae)Adult Giant Pine Weevils, Eurhamphus fasciculatus (Curculionidae), congregate on the trunks of dying Hoop Pines (Araucaria cunninghamii) in south-east Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales. Their white, legless larvae feed on the inner bark of the same trees.

Piedish Beetles, Helea spp. (Tenebrionidae)Piedish Beetles, Helea spp. (Tenebrionidae), are inhabitants of arid and semi-arid sand country. Their broad, oval shape, with an upturned edge all the way around, is thought to protect their legs from predators.

Rhopaea magnicornis (Scarabaeidae)Larvae of cockchafer beetles like Rhopaea magnicornis (Scarabaeidae) are white curl-grubs that feed on plant roots. Large numbers of these adult beetles emerge from the ground after summer rains and fly backwards and forwards above lawns at dusk.

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