by Dave King
It belongs in the superfamily Dascilloidea and family Rhipiceridaeand goes under the name Rhipicera femorata. The writer has only come upon two specimens in the Geelong area, the specimen illustrated was collected in the garden at Portarlington, whilst the other specimen was found at Anglesea some years ago. it is a matter of some conjecture as to whether these beetles have migrated from the north or they are rare residents in the Geelong area.
Little is known of the biology of this species, the larvae being unknown. Larvae of related species in America are known to parasitise immature stages of cicadas.
Male R. femorata, as illustrated, have spectacular flabellate (fan-like) antennae. The female, unfamiliar to the writer, has antennae of pectinate form. The beetle is entirely black, with the exception that the proximal portion of the femora is yellow, blending into a black apex. The elytra and pronotum are marked with a series of spots consisting of white setae. Each individual beetle appears to have a unique pattern of these spots.
Both sexes having elaborate antennae suggests that they must be highly sensitive to extremely low concentrations of chemicals. Whatever these chemicals might be, it is possible they would be the main key to their biology, i.e. for sensing suitable food source, a prospective mate, etc.
Clarke, K.U. (1973), Biology of the Arthropodal Edward Arnold, London.
Lawrence, J.F. & Britton, E.S. (1994), Australian Beetles, Melbourne University Press.