Newly hatched African Black Beetle (Heteronychus arator) larvae are about 5 mm long with six legs, white bodies and pale brown heads. Fully grown larvae are 25 to 30 mm in length with a creamy-white body and light-brown head. The rear end has a dark grey tinge.

When resting the grubs curl into a C-shape. The adult beetle is a rich chestnut colour when newly emerged, but changes to a shiny black, stout-bodied beetle approximately 10 to 15 mm long.

A major pest in turf, most damage is caused by adults feeding on the underground stems of young plants, often killing growing points so that the central shoots wither and the plants become dead-hearted.

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