- Colour: shiny black back and head with bright yellow-green markings, and dark brown to black legs.
- Distinctive feature: violin-shaped markings on its back (after which it is named).
- Size: about 2 cm.
- Diet: nectar and pollen from flowers, and occasionally leaves. The larvae (grubs) feed on rotten wood in the soil.
- Flight: strong during the day, moving between trees to feed. It buzzes loudly while flying.
- Breeding: adults emerge from the soil in early summer to mate. The female lays eggs in rotting logs or damp soil under logs. After grubs hatch they live in the soil then build a cocoon made from soil and debris, where they pupate, or transform, into their adult beetle form.
What to Observe
- Presence (to establish the first and last sighting for the season)
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
Warmer conditions, as a result of climate change, could mean that beetle larvae develop more quickly and become adults sooner. If their food sources don’t also start flowering earlier, there is a possibility that the beetles will have to change their feeding behaviour or their populations could diminish. (Ian Endersby, personal communication).
When To Look
- From early summer (December) when adults emerge from the soil.
Where To Look
- Generally in heath and woodlands of south-eastern Australia, although they have been found in all states except Western Australia.
- Among the blossoms of flowering trees and shrubs, including roses.
- This map may not indicate the entire distribution.
CSIRO 1991. The Insects of Australia. CSIRO Publishing.
Goode, J 1980. Insects of Australia. Angus & Robertson Publishers.
Hawkeswood T 1987. Beetles of Australia. Angus & Robertson Publishers.
- Green Scarab Beetle: has a shiny green back with no distinct markings.
- Jewel Beetle: has red markings on its back.
- Golden Stag Beetle: has a yellow-green shiny back with no distinct markings.
- Other Scarab beetle (Dilochrosis spp. or Chondropyga dorsalis): both have brown to black markings on a gold back (rather than gold markings on a dark brown back) and lack the violin-shaped markings on their backs.
Did You Know?
Despite its vivid colours, it is harmless to humans.
It has a cut-away in the sides of its forewings (front wings) that allows it to use its hindwings (back wings) for flight while barely raising its forewings. This allows it to fly more swiftly and accurately than many other beetles.