Amethyst Fruit Chafer
Amethyst Fruit Chafer
Amethyst Fruit Chafer (Leucocelis amethystina) feeding on Mopane Yellowthorn (Rhigozum zambesiacum) (11588493694) by Bernard DUPONT (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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An Amethyst Fruit Chafer is a species of Scarab beetle (Scarabaeidae). They're also commonly referred to as dung beetles because they spend a large proportion of their lives in dung! They do a great deal of good for the ecosystem, helping to break down manure, so it decomposes at quicker rates. These beetles are attracted to a variety of veld plant-types, so may end up in your garden. However, because they require cattle dung to complete their life-cycles, they're most likely to be found near agricultural land.
These beetles provide a handful of services that benefit the wider ecosystem.
These beetles are on the smaller side (1-1.2cm) and are a brightly coloured metallic green/blue with some white dotting. The pronotum is usually a tan/yellowish-brown with some black smudging down the middle. The legs, head and antennae are black.
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. These beetles tend to eat the flowers of various shrubs and trees, particularly Senegalia. 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 insects to penetrate to lay eggs in the soil come summer.
No specific chemical control for this beetle.
These beetles are readily attracted to cattle dung and fruit baits.