Fiddler Beetle Mark Vuaran/Flickr

Fiddler Beetle

Did You Know?

  • Despite its vivid colours, it is harmless to humans
  • It has a cut-away in the sides of its forewings that allows it to use its hindwings for flight while barely raising its forewings allowing it to fly more swiftly and accurately than other beetles
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A beetle with a shiny black back and head with bright yellow-green markings, and dark brown to black legs.

Distinctive feature

Violin-shaped markings on its back (after which it is named).


About 2 cm



Nectar and pollen from flowers, and occasionally leaves. The larvae (grubs) feed on rotten wood in the soil.


Strong during the day, moving between trees to feed. It buzzes loudly while flying.


Adults emerge from the soil in early summer to mate. The female lays eggs in rotting logs or damp soil under logs. After grubs hatch they live in the soil then build a cocoon made from soil and debris, where they pupate, or transform, into their adult beetle form.

Field Guide

Improve your identification skills. Download your Fiddler Beetle field guide here!

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What to Observe

  • Presence (to establish the first and last sighting for the season)

Climate Adaptations

Warmer conditions, as a result of climate change, could mean that beetle larvae develop more quickly and become adults sooner. If their food sources don’t also start flowering earlier, there is a possibility that the beetles will have to change their feeding behaviour or their populations could diminish.

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When and Where

When To Look

From early summer (December) when adults emerge from the soil.

Where To Look

  • South-eastern Australia, although they've been found in all states except Western Australia
  • Look in heath and woodlands
  • Among blossoms of flowering trees and shrubs, including roses
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What Else?

Similar Species

Green Scarab Beetle has a shiny green back with no distinct markings.

Jewel Beetle has red markings on its back.

Golden Stag Beetle has a yellow-green shiny back with no distinct markings.

Other Scarab beetle (Dilochrosis spp. or Chondropyga dorsalis) both have brown to black markings on a gold back (rather than gold markings on a dark brown back) and lack the violin-shaped markings.