Beetles of every colour

Mueller's stag beetle
Photographer: Mike TrenerryThere are so many beetle species in the Wet Tropics that selecting a choice few to profile is a difficult task. Here are just a few of our rainforest beetles.


Mueller's stag beetle

Mueller's stag beetle is endemic to the Wet Tropics and rarely seen in the rainforest even though it has a highly polished, metallic exoskeleton. The larvae of this beetle is a large, white and rather unattractive grub which lives in rotting logs. It feeds on disintegrating wood pulp for many years before emerging to take on its spectacular adult, winged form. Both males and females have staghorns, but the males are much larger. The overall length of Mueller's stag beetle is 5cm or more.


Rhinoceros beetle
Photographer: WTMAThe rhinoceros beetle

Commonly seen in tropical north Queensland is another large beetle whose males have a single protruding horn in front of the head. Far from the stunning metallic sheen of Mueller's stag beetle, the rhinoceros beetle is a solid, shiny black. It is also about 5-7cm long, very thickset and often found on suburban streets during the day crawling along on the side of the road or flying around well-lit areas at night. When disturbed, they emit a loud hiss.

The rhinoceros beetle is in the scarab family which is known for its c-shaped, plump white grubs which live in the soil. (Some scarab beetle larvae feed on dung but others will eat roots. A few grubs in the garden will not do any damage but large numbers can affect the lawn and other plants.) The rhinoceros beetle's larvae is just as imposing as the adult beetle measuring in at 6cm long by about 2cm in diameter.


Jewel beetle
Photographer: WTMAThe jewel beetle

The jewel beetle group is very large with over 1,200 species throughout Australia. Some spectacular patterns and colours appear on the wing covers of these beetles including metallic sheens. The larvae are usually wood borers and the adults are usually nectar feeders.

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