Leaf beetle

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Leaf beetles
Scarlet lily beetle lilioceris lilii.jpg
Scarlet lily beetle Lilioceris lilii in Oxfordshire, UK
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Superfamily: Chrysomeloidea
Family: Chrysomelidae
Latreille, 1802 [1]

See text.

The family Chrysomelidae, commonly known as leaf beetles, includes over 35,000 species in more than 2,500 genera, making it one of the largest and most commonly encountered of all beetle families. Numerous subfamilies are recognized, but only some of them are listed below.

Leaf beetles are partially recognizable by their tarsal formula, which appears to be 4-4-4, but is actually 5-5-5.[2] Some lineages are only distinguished with difficulty from long-horned beetles (family Cerambycidae), namely by the antennae not arising from frontal tubercles.

Adult and larval leaf beetles feed on all sorts of plant tissue. Many are serious pests of cultivated plants, for example the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata), the asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi), the cereal leaf beetle (Oulema melanopus), and various flea beetles, and a few act as vectors of plant diseases. Others are beneficial due to their use in biocontrol of invasive weeds. Most Chrysomelidae are conspicuously colored, typically in glossy yellow to red or metallic blue-green hues, and some (especially Cassidinae) have spectacularly bizarre shapes. Thus, they are highly popular among insect collectors.


  • Subfamily Bruchinae Latreille, 1802 – includes the bean weevils or seed beetles
  • Subfamily Cassidinae Gyllenhal, 1813 – includes the tortoise beetles and prickly leaf beetles
  • Subfamily Chrysomelinae Latreille, 1802 – includes the broad-bodied leaf beetles
  • Subfamily Criocerinae Latreille, 1804 – includes the asparagus beetles and lily beetles
  • Subfamily Cryptocephalinae Gyllenhal, 1813 – includes cylindrical leaf beetles and warty leaf beetle
  • Subfamily Donaciinae Kirby, 1837 – includes the longhorned leaf beetles
  • Subfamily Eumolpinae Hope, 1840 – includes the oval leaf beetles
  • Subfamily Galerucinae Latreille, 1802 – includes the flea beetles
  • Subfamily Lamprosomatinae Lacordaire, 1848
  • Subfamily Sagrinae Leach, 1815 – frog-legged beetles or kangaroo beetles
  • Subfamily Spilopyrinae Chapuis, 1874
  • Subfamily Synetinae LeConte & Horn, 1883

Until recently, Bruchinae was considered a separate family, while two former subfamilies are presently considered families (Orsodacnidae and Megalopodidae). Other commonly recognized subfamilies have recently been grouped with other subfamilies, usually reducing them to tribal rank (e.g., the former Alticinae, Chlamisinae, Clytrinae and Hispinae).


Some species of wasps such as Polistes carolina (the Red Paper Wasp) have been known to prey upon Chrysomelidae larvae after the eggs are laid in flowers. [3]


  1. ^ "Chrysomelidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  2. ^ "Family Identification – Chrysomeloidea". University of Florida. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  3. ^ "Polistes carolina (Linnaeus, 1767)". Biology. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification. doi:[//dx.doi.org/10.3752%2Fcjai.2008.05%5D 10.3752/cjai.2008.05]. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 

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