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 longhorn 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.


The imagoes of leaf beetles are small to medium-sized, i.e. the size of their bodies varies from 1 to 18 millimeters. The bodies of most of their specimens are arched and egg-shaped, and they often possess a metallic luster or multiple colors. The head's shape (disregarding antennae and mouthparts) is roundish. In most specimens the antennae are notably shorter than head, thorax and abdomen, i.e. not more than half their combined length. The second antennae segment is of normal size (which differentiates leaf beatles from the closely related longhorn beetles). The antennae's segments are of a more or less equal shape, at most they gradually widen towards the tip. The first segment of the antennae, however, in most cases is larger than the following ones. Like the head, the eyes in most cases are also of a round shape. The pronotum of leaf beatles is arched in different shapes; only rarely it protrudes in bumpy shapes. The first three sternites are not fused; there are sutures. All leaf beetles possess wings. Only in some cases they are shortened, and they never leave more than the last tergum uncovered.[3]


  • 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, the Bruchinae subfamily 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, have been known to prey upon Chrysomelidae larvae after the eggs are laid in flowers. [4]


  1. ^ "Chrysomelidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  2. ^ "Family Identification – Chrysomeloidea". University of Florida. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  3. ^ Stresemann, Erwin (1994). Exkursionsfauna von Deutschland. Wirbellose Insekten. Erster Teil (8th ed.). Jena: Gustav Fischer Verlag. ISBN 3-334-60823-9. 
  4. ^ "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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