Orange-Spotted Fruit Chafer

Mecynorhina passerinii

Orange-Spotted Fruit Chafer

Scarabaeidae - Mecynorrhina passerinii by Hectonichus (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 2
A close up of Mecynorhina passerinii Orange-Spotted Fruit Chafer against a red background
Scarabaeidae - Mecynorrhina passerinii by Hectonichus (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 2
Orange-Spotted Fruit Chafer is a beautiful and giant Scarab beetle (Scarabaeidae). These beetles have a slight velvety feeling to touch, and they're particularly fond of fermenting fruit and the sap flows of Bridelia micrantha. They do a great deal of good for the ecosystem- as larvae, they tend to eat decaying wood and leaves, helping to increase the rate of soil formation. These are rare garden residents, residing in moist forest habitats.
Free download for your phone or tablet
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Traits

A beautiful beetle that can help pollinate flowers and break down soil organic matter!

Appearance

These beetles are big (3-5cm). The texture of the wingcases is almost velvety, making them easier to distinguish. Likewise, the elytra are contrastingly dark brown with nine orange-red spots per wingcase. The legs are mostly black. However, the very back legs are brown-red at the feet. The pronotum has two large brown patches, but this can be variable in colour and shape (there is usually a ventral stripe). The males show projected horns, which are utilised during battle for a female mate and resources. The grubs (larvae) spend their entire lives below ground, developing in the soil.

Activity

Diurnal

Personality

Order

Coleoptera

Family

Scarabaeidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

Typically found in North-Eastern areas of South Africa.

Biological treatment

The benefits this beetle provides the wider ecosystem outweigh any negatives. These beetles may take a few bites from flowers but at the same time provide decomposition and pollination services too. They're also a primary food resource for other insects, birds, rodents and reptiles. Proper lawn maintenance may be beneficial at keeping grub numbers low. General feeding, regular watering, aerating and scarifying are good maintenance practices. Removal of leaf litter and plant debris can also help make green spaces less attractive to beetles looking for a good hiding spot. Chafer grubs thrive in dry soil, so regularly watering your lawn to keep the soil moist will help to deter them and will aid the grass recovery. Following the end of the warm season (end of the summer to autumn), you should scarify and aerate flower beds and turf. This should reveal any overwintering larvae in the soil. They can then be collected and placed somewhere for the birds or relocated elsewhere. It's thought that compressing the lawn in spring can make it difficult for females to lay eggs in the soil come summer. If available, beneficial nematodes can be diluted in water and sprinkled on lawns.

Chemical treatment

No specific chemical control for this beetle.
Free download for your phone or tablet
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Plant Knowledge

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play