The large range of native plants in our cold climate garden attract a wide range of insects.
We find that, because of the size of the garden, insects cause very little damage to our plants. In fact, we feel that the majority of native insects are either useful or benign.
Beetles, because of their size, are one of the most visible groups of insect visitors. Many species are attracted to plants in flower where they feed on nectar and play an important role in pollination.
The Flower Chafer Beetles are prominent visitors. They have striking patterns and glossy colouring on their wing cases. They are unusual because, unlike other beetles, they fly with their colourful wing cases closed.
The Spotted Flower Chafer Beetle, Polystigma punctata, is a frequent visitor. This beetle is between 1.4 and 1.8 centimetres long, pale brown in colour with many large black dots on its thorax and wing covers.
Their larvae are white and live in rotting wood or decaying vegetable matter. They are thick with relatively small head and legs. They are not curled like other beetle larvae. The larvae pupate in rounded cells formed from wood fragments before emerging as adults in summer.
We have observed adult Spotted Flower Chafers feeding on nectar of the flowers of Melaleucas, Eucalypts and Blackthorn (Bursaria spinosa).
“Flower Chafers” are found from central New South Wales to northern Queensland. About 10 species are found in the Sydney region.
The Fiddle Beetle is another “Flower Chafer”. Please see the Fiddle Beetle article in this series.