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Christmas beetles are significant pests of young eucalypt plantations and can cause severe leaf loss in trees before canopy closure. Adult beetles emerge from the soil during the summer and feed on eucalypt foliage. They are hungry feeders and large swarms can defoliate trees rapidly.
- Adult beetles are large, about 25-30mm long, yellow-brown to red-brown and shiny.
- Anoplognathus chloropyrus has an iridescent, green hind section extending beyond the wing covers and faint black lines on the wing covers.
- Anoplognathus porosus and A. boisduvali have black spots (A. porosus) or lines (A. boisduvali) on the wing cases but no obvious green hind section.
- Widely distributed throughout eastern and south-eastern Australia.
- More common in coastal, higher rainfall areas.
- Found in northern Queensland and south-eastern Queensland.
- Anoplognathus chloropyrus, A. porosus and A. boisduvali are significant pest species in south-eastern Queensland eucalypt plantations.
- Several species can be present in plantations at the same time.
- Spotted gum (Corymbia citriodora subsp. variegata; C. maculata)
- Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunnii)
- Gympie messmate (E. cloeziana)
- Rose gum and hybrids (E. grandis)
- Western white gum (E. argophloia)
- Larvae feed on grass roots and adults emerge from the soil in summer to feed on eucalypt leaves.
- Beetles feed in swarms, causing extensive damage to young plantations, especially if close to pastures.
- Feeding damage is visible as jagged, ripped, mature leaves. Beetles also feed on immature leaves.
Resources and research
- Last reviewed: 12 Dec 2018
- Last updated: 12 Dec 2018