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Beetles and Bugs

Beetles and Bugs with descriptions found at Sportsman Creek Conservation Area

Image of a female Rhinoceros beetle one of the largest of beetles which is distinguishable by not having the large  horn of the males which are used for jousting other males. The giant hand sized larvae live in soil and feed on rotting logs or decaying plant matter. A new species for the Conservation Area.


The newly published book “Bush Companion Fauna Species of the Clarence Valley and Northern Rivers, New South Wales” is available to purchase direct from the publisher.

This book contains over 310 “full colour plate” fauna species in 250 “perfect bound” pages with both common and scientific names.

Order by email at to reserve your copy.

Price $25 a copy plus postage from Sportsman Creek Press.

Bush Companion Cover

Sportsman Creek Longicorn Beetle image used to underline the seriousness of works by Danish Ceramics artist Inge-Marie Fruelands beetle-inspired products.


Longicorn-Beetle1-300x260Longicorn Beetle-inspired Bowl by Inge Marie Fruelunds

Also known as the Hibiscus Harlequin Bug the image on left is of an adult male with metallic blue and red patches. The image on right is a fifth instar Nymph with bright metallic blue colour. They feed mostly on young shoots piercing and sucking the stems of Malvaceae.  Not commonly found in the Conservation Area after hitching a ride in a visiting vehicle.

Cotton Harlequin BugCOtton Harlequin Bug 5th. Instar 

Known for the violin shaped pattern on their backs these attractive and common beetles live in heaths and woodlands. The female Fiddler Beetle lay their eggs in rotting timber or in damp soil under logs. The grubs feed on rotting timber and build cocoons of soil and debris in which they pupate. These beetles are harmless to humans. 

Fiddler BeetleFiddler Beetle

With over fifteen hundred recorded species across Australia and S/E Asia and twenty thousand species worldwide these common beetles are scavengers and feed on both fresh and decaying vegetation. Major predators include birds, rodents, sunspiders and lizards making them an important link within the food chain.

I.D. courtesy of Fiona Brell Interpretive Officer. Australian Museum.

Further reference –

Darkling Beetle



Belonging to the ground beetle family (Carabidae) with over two thousand five hundred species Australia wide these beetles are carnivorous and hunt on the ground or in trees. Their larvae feed on other insects. When threatened the Bombardier Beetle uses a special gland at its rear to mix together two chemicals, resulting in an explosion with a loud popping noise and an accompanying sizzle of spray and steam with temperatures over 100 degrees Celsius in the gland. Up to 80 explosions may be produced over a four minute period.

I.D. and reference courtesy of Martyn Robinson and Yvette Simpson. Australian Museum.

Further reading:

Bonmardier Beetle  Pheropsophus verticalis

Water Scorpion grow to over 50mm long they can extend the tube on their backs out of  the water to breathe air like a snorkel while swimming. They can ambush fast swimming prey such as small fish catching them between their front legs and stabbing them with their pointed probiscus.  Known as Toe-biters able to inflict a nasty nip although this specimen played dead when disturbed. Water Scorpions are also capable fliers and inhabit waterholes over much of Australia.

” A beetle not a bug. It is certainly one of the diving beetles in the family Dytigcidae, but there are a few black and yellow genera and species. This beetle could be in the genera Megaporus or Sternopriscus.”  Found in the dam feeding on small aquatic organisms.

It is Sandracottus bakewellii (Clark, 1864), an endemic Dytiscidae of Australia, distributed in tropical northern Australia and along the east coast south to Brisbane.

Lars Hendrich, entomologist, Zoologische Staatssammlung, Munich, Germany

I.D courtesy of  Martyn Robinson. Naturalist Australian Museum. 


These small bugs reside on Eucalyptus and Acacia species and are sap suckers. 

I.D. courtesy of Kellie Harris. Interpretive Officer, Australian Museum.