Cowboy Beetle from Australia

Subject: What IsThis Bug?
Location: Melbourne, Australia
January 4, 2013 9:58 pm
Today my family and I came out into the back yard to find my dogs playing with a beetle which we have never come across before, unfortunately they killed it, but we were still curious as to what kind of beetle it is?
It would great if you could help us identify it. 🙂
The season is currently Summer, this beetle has appeared during a streak of hot weather, and we live in a busy suburban area.
Signature: Roberta

Cowboy Beetle

Hi Roberta,
Even through the plastic bag, we could tell this was a Scarab Beetle and though we did not recognize the species, we quickly identified it as a Cowboy Beetle,
Chondropyga dorsalis (Diaphonia dorsalis), on the Brisbane Insect website.  The website states:  “This beetle is commonly seen flying around very fast during day time in shrubs early summer in Brisbane. It is yellowish-brown in colour with a black stripe on the middle. Its body is relatively flatten. The beetle feeds on nectar.”  The Animal a Day website in the January 10, 2012 posting states:  “They can be found in southwestern Australia, inhabiting mostly forested areas and residential gardens. They are not considered to be a pest, even though they can spend their entire lives in one backyard.  As larvae, the Cowboy Beetles feast on rotting things, like dead wood and compost. Their eggs are actually laid in the rotting logs so that when the larvae hatch they have something to eat right away. Then then use that same material to construct their pupae.  As adults, Cowboy Beetles have a taste for food that is a bit more palatable to us non-rotten-debris eaters. They feed on the nectar of various flower species, and they use their newly acquired wings to move from different shrubs and bushes.  Their gold and black coloration actually helps them to avoid predators. When in flight they resemble the far more dangerous Wasp!”  Project Noah also has some wonderful images of the Cowboy Beetle.

2 thoughts on “Cowboy Beetle from Australia”

    • Yes, they have awesome insects in Australia, and they always arrive when there is a dearth of interesting posts from North America. During the winter months other than letters that come from places like Florida, Texas and California, our North American identification requests tend to be confined to household pests and critters that hibernate like Western Conifer Seed Bugs.


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