Jo

DISPLAYING POSTS BY: Jo (9)

Jo

Jo works in the Immigration Discovery Centre helping people uncover family history. She loves that no two days in the Discovery Centre are the same, and that she can now identify a selection of random bugs!

Plague Soldier Beetles

Author
by Jo
Publish date
15 January 2012
Comments
Comments (148)

Your Question: What are these swarming beetles in my garden?

The Discovery Centre has received many enquiries over the last few weeks about swarms of beetles in suburban gardens in and around Melbourne; they are Plague Soldier Beetles, Chauliognathus lugubris.

Plague Soldier Beetles Plague Soldier Beetles
Image: Peter Saunders
Source: Peter Saunders
 

 

This flattened, elongated, soft-bodied beetle has a thin yellow-orange stripe across the back of the pronotum. It has metallic olive green elytra (hardened forewings), covering most of a yellow-orange abdomen. The legs, head, antennae and rest of the pronotum are black and the beetle is usually about 15mm in length. This native species has earned its common name of the Plague Soldier Beetle not as a result of bringing or spreading any dangerous plagues, rather due to its habit of forming huge mating swarms.

 

Plague Soldier Beetles Plague Soldier Beetles
Image: Peter Saunders
Source: Peter Saunders
 

 

The larvae of this species live in the soil and feed on soft bodied invertebrates, while the adults feed on pollen and nectar. The species is found across large parts of the country including urban areas and adults can be seen from spring through to autumn. During their mating periods they can appear in such large numbers that it is not uncommon for them to weigh down the limbs of weaker plants.

Their bright colour warns off predators as they are capable of releasing distasteful chemicals and would not make a good meal. For homeowners who may be hosting huge numbers of this colourful species, don't be too concerned, following the mating swarm the beetles tend to disperse.

 

Got a question? Ask us!

New location for Your Questions

Author
by Jo
Publish date
14 January 2012
Comments
Comments (0)

After four years, and hundreds of questions, the Discovery Centre's online Question of the Week and Your Questions articles are moving house to the MV Blog.

Horse heam moving a house Horse team moving a house from Creswick through Allendale, Victoria, circa 1909. (MM 001930)
Source: Museum Victoria
 

We will still be answering all of your curious and quirky questions, but you will now have the chance to get to know us a little better. The weekly blog posts by the folks of the Melbourne Museum and Immigration Museums Discovery Centres will appear as Your Questions here on the MV Blog. This is the place to go to read about interesting facts, see curious objects, and become the person everyone wants on their pub trivia team. Read all the weird and wonderful questions the museum staff are asked, and even better, find out the answers!

Links:

Melbourne Museum Discovery Centre Question of the Week archive

Immigration Discovery Centre Your Questions archive

Authentico Leggos

Author
by Jo
Publish date
8 February 2011
Comments
Comments (3)

Jo is one of the friendly staff at MV's Discovery Centres. Despite protestations that she does not blog, she couldn't resist writing about this recent coincidence...

Weekends in the Immigration Discovery Centre are normally filled with lots of folks looking for their names, or the names of ancestors, on the various websites we can easily access. But this weekend proved a little more interesting...

I was helping a lady who was here on holidays from Florida find some information about her long-lost ancestors whom she believed arrived at Melbourne in the 1870s. This in itself is not out of the ordinary, but the woman’s maiden name was: it was Leggo. She had heard that her ancestors had come to Australia and started a food business. I asked her if she had made it into a supermarket yet and wandered down the pasta aisle, since their little food business was considerably bigger than she realised. (Leggo's is now a major brand of pasta and sauces. According to the company history on the Leggo's website, Henry Leggo began selling his mother's bottled sauces and pickles to Bendigo goldminers in the 1880s).

While she and I were chatting about this, another woman came up to the desk and excused herself for interrupting. She asked if we were talking about the the name Leggo, because that that was her name, too – and yes, it was spelt the same. She was on holidays from Cornwall in the United Kingdom. The two women exchanged the details of their respective family history as they each knew it and it seems that they are distantly related. They have since exchanged email addresses and will say in contact when they return home to Florida and Cornwall.

Elizabeth and Joyce Joyce Taylor (left) and Elizabeth Leggo in the Immigration Discovery Centre.
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Links:

Immigration Discovery Centre

Researching Italian Migration

About this blog

Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.

Categories