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How to access the Identification Key

To access the Christmas Beetle Lucid Key, please use one of the links listed below.

About the Key

This is an interactive key which enables the user to identify to species level the adult male and female Christmas beetles (genus Anoplognathus) occurring in New South Wales. For recognition of Anoplognathus see 'Identifying a Christmas Beetle'. Anoplognathus is a genus of the Rutelinae, a subfamily of the family Scarabaeidae, which includes Dung Beetles, Flower Chafers, Rhinoceros Beetles and Christmas Beetles.

This key was created by Chris Reid and Kindi Smith, of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Research, Australian Museum, Sydney. The illustrations and key construction are by Kindi Smith and the descriptions and taxonomic decisions by Chris Reid.

The key has been constructed from examination of preserved specimens held at the Museum or loaned from other institutions, and from the revisions of Anoplognathus by Carne (1957, 1958, 1981). The choice of species is based on locality information taken from the Zoological Catalogue for Australian Rutelinae (Cassis and Weir, 1992), literature records, advice from colleagues and specimen data held by the museum.

The key has been designed for people with varying degrees of prior knowledge of beetles, from the general enthusiast to research scientist. The terminology has been kept simple but is supported by a glossary and illustrations.

All species of Anoplognathus known from New South Wales are included. At the time of writing the authors are unaware of any undescribed or additional described species from this state.

Using the Key

Handling specimens

Christmas beetles are relatively hard and can be handled easily when alive, for identification with a hand lens. However, handling is likely to wear off pubescence or break off legs, both of which are important for identification.

Equipment needed

For accurate identification to species, the key requires a high magnification hand lens or low magnification microscope.

The knowledge required

This key is written for people with no prior knowledge of Christmas Beetles. To help with understanding the terminology an extensive glossary is supplied.

The glossary can be accessed via the general information icon at the top of the page or via any of the numerous notes pages.

It is strongly recommended that the first time user reads the accompanying notes pages. The notes are accessed by selecting the circular icon next to the state.

Using Lucid Player

The user interface of Lucid Player is a four panel window. The top two panels are devoted to characters and their states. The bottom two are devoted to taxa.

The top left panel displays the characters and a list of variations (the states). When a character and its associated state are selected they are listed in the upper right panel.

When a character state is selected, the taxa that do not satisfy the criteria of that state are moved to the lower left hand panel. When the list of taxa in the right hand panel is reduced to one, the keying process is complete.

Learn how to use the key by simply opening it and trying various characters. The key cannot be broken or modified, so clicking on the icons will help you understand how the key operates.


It is best not to guess. If you are still unsure after reading the notes then it is best to leave that character and investigate one of the other characters.