What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Adults are mainly nocturnal and some, at least, are nectar feeders, while the larvae feed in rotten wood.


Adults characterised by the relatively thick antennal lamellae, long scape and prognathous head with well-developed mandibles which are often sexually dimorphic; usually black, brown or metallic and usually glabrous but sometimes clothed with scales. Larvae differ from other scarabaeoids in having a stridulatory apparatus consisting of a pars stridens on the mid coxa and plectrum on the hind trochanter, combined with the lack of transverse folds on the abdominal terga and the presence of a longitudinally oval pad on either side of the vertical anal opening (Lawrence 1981; Ritcher 1966).


Lucanids are more or less restricted to the wetter parts of the continent. Syndesus (Syndesinae) differ from most lucanids in having a 7-segmented antennal club with lamellae longer than usual, while Ceratognathus (Nicaginae) includes smaller species clothed with scales and having 3 long lamellae in the club. The former genus also occurs in New Caledonia and South America, the latter in New Zealand and Argentina. Lampriminae are represented in Australia by Lamprima , Hololamprima and Phalacrognathus . The magnificent P. muelleri , the most attractive of Australian beetles, occurs in rainforests of North Qld. Lamprima are extremely variable in colour, ranging from metallic green or bronze to blue, red or violet. The remaining genera, all belonging to the Lucaninae, include Lissotes , with many flightless species in Tas., Sphaenognathus , whose nearest relatives occur in South America, the endemic Rhyssonotus , and tropical Figulus and Prosopocoilus . [Holloway 1960; Howden and Lawrence 1974; Moore 1978, 1984, 1986.]

  • Lucanidae larvae

  • Phalacrognathus muelleri

  • Cacostomus squamosus