Leaf Beetles - FAMILY CHRYSOMELIDAE
This insect family is commonly called Leaf Beetle. They are also known as Chrysomelid beetles, Tortoise beetles or Eucalypt beetles. Most species of this family, adults and larvae, feed on leaves. Some are considered as pest.
Leaf beetles adults usually range in size from 5 to 15 mm in length and brightly coloured. They have different body shapes from elongate or flattened to globular. Some may be mistaken for ladybird beetles due to their oval shape. Their antenna usually less than half the length of their bodies. One of their characteristics is that they can hide their legs and antennae under their wing covers while sitting on a leaf.
For most of the Leaf Beetle species we found they feed primarily on eucalypts and acacias. Both the adults and larvae eat plant material, store those plant chemicals in their body, and are poisonous to the predators. There is no wonder why most of the Leaf Beetles are with bright body colour.
Leaf beetles are closely related with Longicorn Beetles, some of them have similar body shape but their eyes generally not notched.
Leaf beetle larvae are also vary in shape, but often with three pairs of well developed legs and dark head. Early instars feed in a group. As the larvae grow they may stay in a group or feed individually. Leaves are often chewed down to the central vein.
Pupae are rarely seen because the larvae drop from tree and pupate in the litter and soil below the tree.
Eggs are laid on leaves or stems, usually near new growth. The eggs laid in patterns characteristic of the species. Eggs are very vulnerable to predators such as ladybirds, predatory bugs and tiny wasp parasites.
We found quite a number of Leaf Beetle species in different subfamilies. They are listed as follow.
Subfamily Chrysomelinae, Paropsina group
Subfamily Chrysomelinae, other genera
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