Leaf Beetles
(Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)

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The leaf beetles are probably the third largest beetle family and there might be a total of 5,000 species in PNG. Unfortunately only about 1,000 species are named so far. Many of the mainly herbivorous leaf beetles are severe pests of agricultural crops. As indicated by the name, the adult beetles mainly feed on leaves. The grubs are called ‘root worms’ and feed on roots, leaves or other parts of plants. The size of the slender, ovate or nearly round beetles is mainly small to moderately large in a few species. Some are flattened, others are convex and are easily confused with ladybird beetles. Important diagnostic signs are the number of tarsal segments, being 4 at all legs (actually 5, but the fourth is minute) and the antennae that are slender and not clubbed. The elytra are often smooth and shiny and most leaf beetles are colourful. There are 16 subfamilies in PNG, for instance the Galerucinae, Hispinae, Sagrinae, Chrysomelinae, Eumolpinae, Alticinae, Cassidinae, etc. Only a few leaf beetles are known as pests of tree crops in PNG like Rhyparida coriacea and Paropsis spp. feeding on the foliage Eucalyptus.

Crescent-shaped feeding notches caused by adult eucalypt leaf beetles Paropsis sp.
(reproduced by permission of CSIRO Australia)

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Michael F. Schneider, 1999