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There is select group of creatures that is synonymous with Christmas - donkeys, reindeer, turkeys and robins. image of beetle does not spring to mind when thinking of festive season. However, there is actually Christmas beetle, but this Christmas it has gone missing. Australia's Christmas beetle used to be indication that the holiday season was on its way in land down under. Its numbers have declined alarmingly. Dr Tanya Latty, entomologist from University of Sydney, said: "Everybody over age of 35 remembers there being huge numbers of Christmas beetles when they were kids, but that just doesn't seem to happen any more."

The Christmas beetle is as unique to Australia as koalas and kangaroos. It is colourful, shiny and harmless bug. Dr Latty told BBC: "We have in Australia this really unique biological event where Christmas is associated with arrival of these beautiful, glittery, friendly beetles." She said it was "absolutely critical" to find out why there are so few around. Scientists suspect that their dwindling numbers are due to habitat loss. In 2020, bushfires wiped out huge swathes of forest that were home to beetles. Australia has worst rate of mammal extinction in the world. Scientists fear Christmas beetle may also soon die out. They asked people to send them photos if they see beetle.

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