|Additional Insect Resources
Types of Beetles
Types of Insects
Leaf beetles (family Chrysomelidae), a large family of beetles, get their name from their dietary habits.
They are the vegetarians of the beetle world, with adults and larvae consuming leaves and other parts of plants, including trees.
As such, Chrysomelidae commonly get labeled as agriculture and garden pests. The diet of the Spotted Cucumber Beetle in the top picture extends beyond cucumbers, to include many crops and plants.
With approximately fifteen hundred different North American Chrysomelidae species, the pest label can be exaggerated. The majority of the species rarely occur in populations large enough to do significant damage to their host plants.
In fact, most leaf beetle species have evolved to become consumers of a single plant or plant genus.
Leaf beetle species usually share the physical characteristics of having an oval, brightly colored body with antennae smaller than the body.
Leaf Beetles in the genus Chrysomela feed on tree leaves, with different species associated with either a tree species or genus.
The American Willow Leaf Beetle (Chrysomela knabi), for example, feeds on willows and related trees. The Cottonwood Leaf Beetle (Chrysomela scripta) consumes leaves from cottonwood, hybrid poplar, and some willow trees.
In some cases, Chrysomela can inflict considerable damage to their hosts, especially when the hosts are planted for ornamental reasons.
Chrysomela adults measure about one-half inch in length, and they have colorful bodies.
The orange bodies Chrysomela in the second picture could be one of a few different species. Often the spot pattern changes form individual to individual and location to location.
© 2009-2011 Patricia A. Michaels