AppearanceThe body of ''Chrysolopus spectabilis'' is an elongated oval 15–25 millimetres long. The elytra are black, with irregular spots of bright metallic green. The underside of the body is shaded in matt green, and a white or green line runs the length of the animal's sides. The head, thorax and legs are black with occasional metallic green markings. The colouration varies across the year, with animals emerging later in the season having a bluer colour.
The snout is about as long as the bell-shaped pronotum, and strongly curved. The geniculate antennae arise from halfway along the snout, and end in a small club. The compound eyes protrude slightly. The elytra display a row of furrows with slight depressions, and the animal's ventral side is also covered with scales. The powerful legs have a thick voering of hair on the tarsi, which have no claws.
The larvae are 40–50 mm long; they are white, round and wrinkled, with a few hairs on their sides, and a red–brown head with black mandibles. To date, the pupa has not been described.
NamingIt was discovered during James Cook's first voyage, and became the first insect to be described from Australia.
Distribution''Chrysolopus spectabilis'' occurs in the eastern and southern states of Australia, with a range stretching from the coastal region of Queensland to Victoria and eastern parts of South Australia. It is most common in eastern parts of New South Wales, particularly the surroundings of Sydney, and out to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range.
HabitatAdults are active both in daytime and at night, mostly during the warmer months . During this period, ''C. spectabilis'' is often seen in built-up areas and woodlands in areas with moderate precipitation, particularly around ''Acacia'' plants. In open areas, such as northern New South Wales, ''Acacia'' species with phyllodia are preferred, but in more wooded areas, such as the Blue Mountains, species with paripinnate leaves are preferred.
FoodAdult beetles have been recorded on 28 ''Acacia'' species, out of the 1000 species present in Australia; the larvae, on the other hand, have only been recorded on seven species. The larvae are, however, thought to feed on the same species as the adults.''Chrysolopus spectabilis'' feeds almost exclusively on particular species of ''Acacia'', including the Cootamundra wattle ''Acacia baileyana'', the silver wattle ''Acacia dealbata'', the Australian blackwood ''Acacia melanoxylon'' and the golden wattle ''Acacia longifolia''. The beetles choose young plants, around 50–150 cm tall, before they have flowered. They use the long snout and powerful mouthparts to make holes in the stem and leaves, in order to reach the sap and to build egg chambers.
In south-eastern Australia, ''C. spectabilis'' can be a pest of acacia plantations. Adults can destroy new shoots, and the larvae can limit the plant's water uptake. The adults can even cause a tree to die through ring barking. Despite its garish colours, ''C. spectabilis'' is not poisonous. It is very alert, and if it senses danger, will either fall to the ground and play dead, or hold fast to the plant with its legs.
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