Summer starts in December in Australia, where these insects make their home. Known as king beetles or Christmas beetles, these scarab beetles glimmer and shine—and were once commonly seen (and heard) swarming city streetlights and buzzing through the night during the holiday season. But while the beetles are said to be relatively widespread in rural areas, observers report those festive urban sightings are now much less frequent.

Invertebrate researchers are collecting community-science sightings to get a clearer picture of what’s happening;they suspect main causes of decline in cities are drought and local habitat loss. Like moths and butterflies, bees, wasps, ants and flies, all beetles undergo complete metamorphosis, changing form as they grow from young larvae into adults. Their diet changes too: when young, they feed on underground roots, while the adults fly to eucalyptus leaves. Near big cities, however, these food sources have been paved over or cut down.

Christmas Beetle
Anoplognathus viridiaeneus
About 1.1–1.5inches (about 29–38 mm)
Not listed
Ecological Role
AMNH Specimen Number
AMNH_IZC 00292340