Leaf beetle

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Leaf beetles
Temporal range: Aptian–Recent
Scarlet lily beetle lilioceris lilii.jpg
Scarlet lily beetle Lilioceris lilii in Oxfordshire, UK
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Chrysomeloidea
Family: Chrysomelidae
Latreille, 1802  [1]
Subfamilies

See text

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.

Contents

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. [2] As with many taxa, no single character defines the Chrysomelidae; instead, the family is delineated by a set of characters. [3] 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.

Description

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. [4]

Subfamilies

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).

Predators

Some species of wasps, such as Polistes carolina , have been known to prey upon Chrysomelidae larvae after the eggs are laid in flowers. [5]

Related Research Articles

Cassidinae Subfamily of beetles

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.

<i>Cassida</i> Genus of beetles

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 Tribe of beetles

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.

<i>Kuschelina gibbitarsa</i>

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.

<i>Odontota</i> Genus of beetles

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.

<i>Mantura</i> (beetle)

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.

<i>Charidotella</i> Genus of beetles

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.

<i>Amphelasma</i>

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.

<i>Hemisphaerota</i> Genus of beetles

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.

References

  1. "Chrysomelidae". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.
  2. "Family Identification – Chrysomeloidea". University of Florida. Archived from the original on 2006-10-13. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
  3. Jolivet, Pierre; Verma, Krishna K. (2002). Biology of Leaf Beetles. Andover: Intercept. pp. 5–9. ISBN   1-898298-86-6.
  4. Stresemann, Erwin (1994). Exkursionsfauna von Deutschland. Wirbellose Insekten. Erster Teil (8th ed.). Jena: Gustav Fischer Verlag. ISBN   3-334-60823-9.
  5. "Polistes carolina (Linnaeus, 1767)". Biology. Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification. doi:10.3752/cjai.2008.05 . Retrieved 2014-09-17.

Bibliography