Chrysomelidae, leaf beetles

Chrysomelidae, leaf beetles overview

The Chrysomelidae family contains more than 38,000 species world wide, over 2000 in Europe and over 255 in the British Isles. Chrysomelids are commonly known as leaf beetles as the adults tend to feed on leaves and flowers, and the larvae tend to feed on leaves, or bore into roots and stems. At all stages in their lives these beetles are herbivorous. Most are small and many of the adults have beautiful metallic colours.

Chrysomela populi, poplar leaf beetle larva

Above is the larva of Chrysomela populi, the poplar leaf beetle. Chrysomela populi adults are 10 -12 mm long, have yellow/red elytra and a black head and thorax. They are common from May - August. The larvae are up to 13 mm long. The live on poplar and sometimes willow leaves.

Flea beetle adult

Above is a flea beetle, so-called because of its habit of jumping when disturbed. They eat holes in cabbages and other related plants and can kill seedlings, so are regarded as a serious pest. The female lays her eggs either on the leaves of the host plant, or in nearby soil. The eggs are usually round and yellow and laid in batches.

Donacia simplex

On the left is an adult Donacia simplex, in the Chrysomelidae family. The adult is terrestrial and the larva aquatic. The larva is white, grub-like and found around the roots of water plants which it eats. The adult emerges from the cocoon in the spring, and on reaching the water surface can fly away immediately. The adult length varies from 7 - 14 mm long, and the colour is metallic blue or green.

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