Feather-Horned Beetles (Rhipicera mystacina)
Well to my absolute delight the Feather-Horned Beetles ARE BACK!!! Three years ago I was fortunate to stumble across a hot spot for these beetles. This is now the third consecutive year I have seen a decent population of these incredible looking beetles all in the same area. I was a little nervous that they might not reappear after a tree in the area was removed. My thoughts were that perhaps the grubs (larvae) might be growing up inside this tree… but luckily it seems that the tree removal did not affect their presence. It seems not much is known about this species. They are however fairly well distributed down the eastern coast of Australia, with many iNaturalist observations as far south as Tasmania. It also seems as though there is little behaviour documentation on this species.
Female Feather-Horned Beetles do not have the incredible antennae that the males have, and are slightly smaller.
This year, I witnessed females laying eggs for the first time. This could possibly be the first time this has been documented so this eye-witness account is extremely exciting to me, as there could be some valuable information learned about their life-cycles. As well as this, it gives me hope to see them appear again next July.