Sharon Field
A sudden leap

A sudden leap

Watercolour and graphite
7.5 x 15cm

Synonymous with the Australian summer, Christmas Beetles (Anoplognathus) own the skies as they move to feed on the eucalypt trees. The sound of thousands of beetles in the air is quite audible and very soon they strip the trees of leaves as they feed. The Christmas beetle is found across Australia, with the exception of our deserts. There are around 35 endemic species. The classic habitat for Christmas beetles is woodland, where there are plenty of trees and rich soil. The larvae develop in soil, and remain there as curl grubs, feeding on grass and plant roots, as well as the surface roots of eucalypts.

The chewed holes in the leaves echo the little blunt snout of the beetle as it leaps to gain momentum for flight to the next leaf.

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