I have been pruning plants down the side of my drive, and a couple of times came across a small beetle I had never seen before (see Left). I mentioned it at work yesterday, and took a few minutes of my break to look for identifying pictures. I tentatively settled on the Southern Ladybird, a Tasmanian introduced to control a pest of Eucalyptus trees, but it seemed they were introduced in the South Island, and this was on bamboo, not eucalyptus. I was looking for a checkerboard pattern.
It is funny how your mind is so untrustworthy. This evening I managed to take a picture of one (Above, Left), finding there was no distinct checkerboard pattern at all. However, the picture did enable me to find quickly a matching image (Left), and identify it as the Fungus Eating Ladybird, Illeis Galbula, a member of the Coccinellidae Family, and another Australian import. Most others of the Family are predators.
Some say this one is a garden pest because it spreads the fungi and mould spores to other plants. Before it hibernates it stores some of the fungi under its wing shields as food for when it comes out of hibernation.
Others say it is beneficial, eating fungus off the plants, which should not succumb if healthy.