Overview

Comprehensive Description

Chrysomelidae (Leaf Beetles)
This is a large family of small- to medium-sized beetles. Some species are small and round, while others are longer and more angular. The antennae are fairly short. Leaf Beetles exhibit highly variable colors and patterns, including shiny black or brown, greenish-yellow with black dots, pale yellow with black stripes, etc. The adults usually feed on leaves and flowers, while the larvae feed on leaves or roots. The adults of some species feed on pollen, as well as other parts of a plant, often causing more damage than good. Of the various subfamilies, only one will be described next because of the atypical habits of the species. Bruchinae (Seed Beetles): These are small stout beetles with broad oval bodies. They have down-turned heads with a small snout. Seed Beetles are usually dull brown or black, but they may be dull red or yellow with mottled patterns. The adult beetles are occasionally found on flowers, where they lay their eggs. The larvae bore into seeds, where they feed and pupate.

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Ecology

Associations

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Cleonice callida is endoparasitoid of larva of Chrysomelidae

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Entomognathus brevis stocks nest with Chrysomelidae

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Medina separata is endoparasitoid of abdomen of imago of Chrysomelidae

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Meigenia dorsalis is endoparasitoid of larva of Chrysomelidae

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Meigenia mutabilis is endoparasitoid of larva of Chrysomelidae

Animal / predator
larva of Parasyrphus nigritarsis is predator of pupa of Chrysomelidae
Other: sole host/prey

Animal / predator
adult of Picromerus bidens is predator of larva of Chrysomelidae
Other: major host/prey

Animal / parasitoid / endoparasitoid
larva of Policheta unicolor is endoparasitoid of adult of Chrysomelidae

Animal / predator
nymph of Troilus luridus is predator of larva of Chrysomelidae

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Setae enhance temporary adhesion: leaf beetles
 

The thousands of setae of leaf beetles enhance their ability to adhere to various, sometimes irregular surfaces thanks to the resulting multiple contact points.

     
  "Second, devices for intermittent adhesion in animals make extraordinary use of multiple contacts. The billion contacts of the gecko's feet may not be exceptional. Each of Stork's (1980) 5-microgram chrysomelid beetles had over ten thousand setae. William Kier found that even octopus suckers turn out to use tiny projections, pegs about 3 micrometers in diameter (Pennisi 2002). Using a lot of contacts must give some useful redundancy; more important, probably, are an improved fit to unpredictably irregular surfaces, easy ability to adjust adhesive strength, better resistance to shear forces, and (with interconnected space between them) useful pressure equalization. When attachment projections get down to the micrometer range, leakage of air between them (for suction, for instance) can't be too much of a worry--with a little moisture, either viscosity or surface tension ought to provide an effective seal." (Vogel 2003:430)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Gorb, S. N.; Sinha, M.; Peressadko, A.; Daltorio, K. A.; Quinn, R. D. 2007. Insects did it first: a micropatterned adhesive tape for robotic applications. Bioinspiration & Biomimetics. 2: S117-S125.
  • Steven Vogel. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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Functional adaptation

Larvae produce deadly toxin: leaf beetle
 

Beetle larvae protect themselves from predators by producing a deadly toxin after feeding on Commiphora tree.

   
  "In Namibia the Commiphora tree is the host plant of the leaf beetle. When its larvae feed on the leaves, they produce a toxin not found in adults, which a Kalahari Desert bushman squeezes onto an arrow tip. The poison on a single arrow can fell an adult antelope." (Chadwick 1998:114)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Chadwick, D. H. 1998. Planet of the Beetles: From humble ladybugs to brilliant scarabs, beetles both help and bedevil us. A third of the world's identified insects are beetles, and they are everywhere. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. 193: 100-119.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:21877
Specimens with Sequences:14490
Specimens with Barcodes:12323
Species:2105
Species With Barcodes:1655
Public Records:3647
Public Species:762
Public BINs:460
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Leaf beetle

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.

Classification[edit]

  • 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).

Predators[edit]

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]

References[edit]

  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:[http://dx.doi.org/10.3752%2Fcjai.2008.05%5D 10.3752/cjai.2008.05]. Retrieved 2014-09-17. 
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Camptosomata

Camptosomata are the case-bearing leaf beetles or camptosomates, named for their habit of carrying a case of waste material as larvae. This group consists of two subfamilies of Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles): Lamprosomatinae and Cryptocephalinae (which include the former Chlamisinae and Clytrinae).[1]

Each case begins as a wrapping that the mother creates by laying plates of fecal material around each egg. She begins at one end of the egg and turns it with the addition of each plate. She then closes it by creating a "roof" at the other end. When the larva hatches from the egg, it opens the roof of the egg case. it then extends it head and legs from this opening, flips the case over its back and crawls away. Larval camptosomates add to and expand this case with their own waste materials as they grow. They eventually seal off the opening where their head and legs were and pupate inside. When they metamorphose into adults, these beetles then cut a circle around the apex of the case, pop off the cap, and crawl out, ready to feed, mate, and start the cycle over again.[2]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Erber (1988)
  2. ^ Brown & Funk (2005)

References


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