Driftless Prairies: Native Habitat Restoration

Nature inspires awe!

Chrysomelidae (Leaf Beetles)

North America hosts about 1,500 species of leaf beetles, all of which develop inside seeds or seed coverings and most often seeds of the legume family. These beetles come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Because of this, identification is made by looking at their legs; the segment up from the claws has a heart-shaped lobe. These lobes have special hairs that help the beetle to cling to the plant.

Most of the larvae are free-living although some are leaf-miners, case bearers, or root feeders. The free-living fasten themselves to a leaf when they are ready to pupate; others will pupate in the ground or in larval cases. The leafminer larvae pupate within the mines and are known to overwinter there.

Certain species of potter wasps (Eumenes spp) will prey on this family of beetle larvae.

Some species of this family will lay live larvae while others lay eggs. Either way, these are deposited on the lower surface of the host plant’s leaves or stems. Most species have 1 generation per year but there are a few that have two or more.

Most species overwinter as adults.