Temporal range: Aptian–Recent
|Scarlet lily beetle Lilioceris lilii in Oxfordshire, UK|
|Family:|| Chrysomelidae |
The insects of the beetle family Chrysomelidae are commonly known as leaf beetles, and include over 37,000 (and probably at least 50,000)[ citation needed ] species in more than 2,500 genera, making up one of the largest and most commonly encountered of all beetle families. Numerous subfamilies are recognized, but the precise taxonomy and systematics are likely to change with ongoing research.
Leaf beetles are partially recognizable by their tarsal formula, which appears to be 4-4-4, but is actually 5-5-5 as the fourth tarsal segment is very small and hidden by the third.As with many taxa, no single character defines the Chrysomelidae; instead, the family is delineated by a set of characters. 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, and all species are fully herbivorous. 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. Some 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 imagos of leaf beetles are small to medium-sized, i.e. most species range from 1.0 to 18 mm in length, excluding appendages, with just a few larger species such as Alurnus humeralis, which reaches 35 mm. The bodies of most species are domed, and oval in dorsal view (though some are round or elongated), and they often possess a metallic luster or multiple colors. In most specimens, the antennae are notably shorter than head, thorax, and abdomen, i.e. not more than half their combined length. The second antennal segment is of normal size (which differentiates leaf beatles from the closely related longhorn beetles). In most species, the antennal segments are of a more or less equal shape, at most they gradually widen towards the tip, although some Galerucinae in particular have modified segments, mainly in males. The first segment of the antenna in most cases is larger than the following ones. The pronotum of leaf beetles varies between species. In most, it is slightly to highly domed and trapezoidal to rounded-squarish in dorsal view. In some subfamilies such as the Cassidinae and to a lesser extent the Cryptocephalinae, the head is covered by the pronotum and thus not visible from above. The first three sternites are not fused, instead being linked by mobile sutures. Most species possess wings, although the level of development and thus flight ability varies widely, including within a single species, and some are flightless with fused elytra.
The family includes these subfamilies:
Until recently, the subfamily 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 , have been known to prey upon Chrysomelidae larvae after the eggs are laid in flowers.
The Cassidinae are a subfamily of the leaf beetles, or Chrysomelidae. The antennae arise close to each other and some members have the pronotal and elytral edges extended to the side and covering the legs so as to give them the common name of tortoise beetles. Some members, such as in the tribe Hispini, are notable for the spiny outgrowths to the pronotum and elytra.
Cassida is a large Old World genus of tortoise beetles in the subfamily Cassidinae. Several species of Cassida are important agricultural pests, in particular C. vittata and C. nebulosa on sugar beet and spinach. The thistle tortoise beetle has been used as a biological control agent against Canada thistle.
Chaetocnema rileyi, the Boca Chica flea beetle, is a species of flea beetle in the family Chrysomelidae. It is found in North America.
Longitarsus melanurus is a species of flea beetle in the family Chrysomelidae. It is found in North America.
Chrysomelini is a tribe of leaf beetles in the family Chrysomelidae. There are at least 140 described species in Chrysomelini.
Pseudoluperus maculicollis is a species of leaf beetles in the family Chrysomelidae. It is found in Central America and North America.
Kuschelina gibbitarsa, the flea beetle, is a species of flea beetle in the family Chrysomelidae. It is found in North America.
Brachycoryna is a genus of tortoise beetles and hispines in the family Chrysomelidae. There are seven described species in Brachycoryna.
Odontota is a genus of tortoise beetles and hispines in the family Chrysomelidae. There are about nine described species in Odontota.
Trichaltica is a genus of flea beetles in the family Chrysomelidae. There are at least four described species in Trichaltica. They are found in North America, Central America, and the Neotropics.
Mantura is a genus of flea beetles in the family Chrysomelidae. There are about 11 described species in Mantura.
Erepsocassis is a genus of tortoise beetles in the family Chrysomelidae, containing a single species, E. rubella.
Lygistus is a genus of leaf beetles in the family Chrysomelidae. There is at least one described species in Lygistus, L. streptophallus.
Charidotella is a genus of tortoise beetles in the family Chrysomelidae. There are at least 100 described species in Charidotella.
Hemiglyptus is a genus of flea beetles in the family Chrysomelidae. There is at least one described species in Hemiglyptus, H. basalis.
Amphelasma is a genus of skeletonizing leaf beetles and flea beetles in the family Chrysomelidae. There is at least one described species in Amphelasma, A. cavum.
Hemisphaerota is a genus of tortoise beetles and hispines in the family Chrysomelidae. There are about 10 described species in Hemisphaerota.
Floridocassis is a genus of tortoise beetles in the family Chrysomelidae, containing a single species, F. repudiata.
Octotoma is a genus of tortoise beetles and hispines in the family Chrysomelidae. There are about 12 described species in Octotoma.
Acrocyum is a genus of flea beetles in the family Chrysomelidae. There is at least one described species in Acrocyum.
|Wikispecies has information related to Chrysomelidae|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chrysomelidae .|