- Colour: 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).
- Size: about 2 cm.
- Diet: nectar and pollen from flowers, and occasionally leaves. The larvae (grubs) feed on rotten wood in the soil.
- Flight: strong during the day, moving between trees to feed. It buzzes loudly while flying.
- Breeding: 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.
What to Observe
- Presence (to establish the first and last sighting for the season)
ClimateWatch Science Advisor
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. (Ian Endersby, personal communication).
When To Look
- From early summer (December) when adults emerge from the soil.
Where To Look
- Generally in heath and woodlands of south-eastern Australia, although they have been found in all states except Western Australia.
- Among the blossoms of flowering trees and shrubs, including roses.
- This map may not indicate the entire distribution.
Where To Look
Maps of Habitat Suitability
of occurrence (RCP 8.5)
|Species range change from
current to 2070 probability
Above, the left and middle maps show the modelled habitat suitability for the the species under current and potential future climate conditions. The colours indicate the predicted habitat suitability from low (white) to high (dark red).
The future habitat suitability is modelled for the year 2070 under a climate change scenario that represents 'business as usual' (RCP 8.5). The map on the right shows how the range of the species might change between now and 2070, with orange areas indicating where the species might disappear, green areas where the species range might expand, and blue areas where the habitat is predicted to be suitable for the species now and in the future.
The models for this species were run in the Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory. Please note that while models can be very informative, they are only a representation of the real world and thus should always be viewed with caution. You can read more about the science behind these models here.
CSIRO 1991. The Insects of Australia. CSIRO Publishing.
Goode, J 1980. Insects of Australia. Angus & Robertson Publishers.
Hawkeswood T 1987. Beetles of Australia. Angus & Robertson Publishers.
- 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 on their backs.
Did You Know?
Despite its vivid colours, it is harmless to humans.
It has a cut-away in the sides of its forewings (front wings) that allows it to use its hindwings (back wings) for flight while barely raising its forewings. This allows it to fly more swiftly and accurately than many other beetles.