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Christmas beetles

  • Christmas beetles fed og eucalypt leaves
    Christmas beetle damage to mature spotted gum leaves. Image courtesy Forests NSW.
  • A Christmas beetle
    Christmas beetle, A. boisduvali

General information

Christmas beetles are important pests of young eucalypt plantations and can cause severe defoliation in trees before canopy closure. Adult beetles emerge from the soil during the summer and feed on eucalypt foliage. They are voracious feeders and large swarms can defoliate trees rapidly.

Scientific name

Anoplognathus chloropyrus, Anoplognathus porosus, Anoplognathus boisduvali, Anoplognathus spp.

  • adult beetles are large, about 25-30 mm long; yellow-brown to red-brown and shiny
  • Anoplognathus chloropyrus has an iridescent, green posterior extending beyond the wing covers and faint black lines on the wing covers
  • Anoplognathus porosus and A. boisduvali have black spots (A. porosus) or lines (A. boisduvali) on the wing cases but no obvious green posterior
  • several species can be present in plantations at the same time.
  • widely distributed throughout eastern and south-east Australia
  • more common in coastal, higher rainfall areas
  • found in northern Queensland and South East Queensland
  • Anoplognathus chloropyrus, A. porosus and A. boisduvali are important pest species in South East Queensland eucalypt plantations.
  • spotted gum (C. citriodora subsp. variegata; C. maculata)
  • Dunn's white gum (Eucalyptus dunii)
  • Gympie messmate (E. cloeziana)
  • rose gum and hybrids (E. grandis)
  • western white gum (E. argophloia).
  • larvae feed on grass roots and adults emerge from the soil in summer to feed on eucalypt leaves
  • beetles feed in swarms, causing extensive damage to young plantations, especially if close to pastures
  • feeding damage is visible as jagged, ripped leaves on mature leaves; they also feed on immature leaves.


  • PaDIL - Pests and Diseases Library
  • Pest Genie - For current information on pesticides registered for use in forestry

Last updated 08 December 2011