The cockchafer is between 20 and 30 millimetres long, with a compact body, black thorax, orange elytra (or wing cases), and black and white triangular patches on its abdomen, which ends in a long, sharp tip. The antennae, which end in fan-like tips, are larger on the male than the female.
The cockchafer lives in fields, gardens, grasslands, the outskirts of forests and orchards. Although found in various parts of Europe, it has become rare in recent decades.
Adult cockchafers feed on the leaves of deciduous trees. The larvae eat the roots of wild and cultivated plants. The larvae look like fat white caterpillars and live underground for three or four years. Their metamorphosis takes place in May, and adults live up to six weeks. Cockchafers spend the day in tree branches and fly during the night. Many gardeners consider them a pest.