Small miracles: Christmas beetles saved from the allure of artifical light



The first week of January a friend and I took a road trip to Melbourne. Along the way, on the ground, outside the automatic doors of a fast food place next to a petrol station on the highway, we found swathes of Christmas beetles, piled up, the living and the dead. But mostly dead, drawn by the non-stop light all night; in the morning they were countless. The living were very few and in danger of being trodden on at any minute.

Christmas beetles were more plentiful when I was growing up in Sydney. The city is less a place for them now it seems. One of the things I love about living on the farm is that once more there are lots of Christmas beetles, though a different species perhaps because they are not as stunningly iridescent as those I remember from my childhood.

These ones were very beautiful. So I picked up the few that were still alive and carried them to the verge of the car park where I set them down among the plants.

Beautiful, beautiful Christmas beetles.



This entry was posted in Australian Bush Life, Death, Insects, Small Miracles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Small miracles: Christmas beetles saved from the allure of artifical light

  1. Megan Carter says:

    Deb, I too remember the Christmas beetles of my childhood as larger and more iridescent. Although I was somewhat terrified that they would get stuck in my long hair, I still loved when they showed up for the season. I read that decades ago in Sydney, Christmas beetles were so plentiful that they would weigh down the branches of trees overhanging the harbour. Certainly the types and numbers of beetles has changed over the years. Great close-up photo of the beetle.:)

    • Yes, Megan, they were bigger too, back when we were kids! And it is hard enough to get them off your fingers, let alone out of your hair. At home I slip them off their backs on the floor and onto a sheet of paper, then out the back door to freedom.

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