Where have all the Christmas beetles gone?
NSW, and Sydney, in particular, used to be filled with swarms of Christmas beetles. It’s suspected that habitat destruction, due to urban sprawl, is the main reason for the widely reported disappearance of the Christmas beetle. Sydney’s human population grew from just over 2 million in 1960 to almost 5 million in 2020. To make way for millions of new residents, the Christmas beetles’ main food source — Eucalypt trees — have declined.
For example, Cumberland Plain woodland in Western Sydney was once rich with Eucalypts that adult Christmas beetles fed on, but now, it covers less than 10 per cent of its original area.