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It’s raining…beetles

November 20, 2019

During a recent bout of windy weather I was out walking Mac (the Border Collie) when a violent gust of wind caused a lot of debris to rain down from a tree I was walking under. The tree was an Elm of some sort and the debris was hundreds of beetles, Elm Leaf Beetles (Xanthogaleruca luteola), pictured left.

Originally from Europe these beetles were accidentally introduced to Australia. The adults and their larvae (pictured below) can cause serious damage to Elm trees by skeletonising old and emerging leaves. The result is rarely the death of the tree but the tree can be severely weakened and made vulnerable to diseases such as Dutch Elm disease.

As with many insect pests introduced into Australia, for example the European Wasp, in their native habitats cold winter temperatures kill off many of the insects thereby controlling the populations. However this does not happen in the milder Australian winters so the number of insects grows unchecked.

Unsurprisingly these beetles are of the same leaf-eating beetle family (Chrysomelidae) as the Eucalyptus Leaf Beetle in the previous blog.

It always amazes me how family members can look so different.

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