The Rainbow Leaf Beetle – Chrysolina

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The Rainbow Leaf Beetle Chrysolina
By Slimguy - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52184299

Chrysolina is a genus of leaf beetles found in Europe and Asia. The most well-known member of this genus is the rainbow leaf beetle (Chrysolina cerealis), which is brightly coloured and feeds on leaves.

Other members of the genus include the black leaf beetle (Chrysolina persephone) and the olive leaf beetle (Chrysolina olivacea). Leaf beetles in general are considered to be pests, as they can cause extensive damage to crops.

The Rainbow Leaf Beetle – A Vibrant Addition to Your Garden

The rainbow leaf beetle (Chrysolina) is a brightly coloured, iridescent insect that is native to Europe. The adult beetles are approximately 1/2 inch long and have a wingspan of about 1/4 inch.

They are black with yellow, orange, or red stripes running lengthwise down their backs. The undersides of their abdomens are also brightly coloured.

The rainbow leaf beetle feeds on the leaves of various plants, including roses, grapevines, and ivy. While they can cause damage to plants, they are generally not considered to be serious pests.

In fact, many gardeners actually enjoy having them around as they add a splash of colour to the garden.

Px chrysomelidae chrysolina cerealis
By hectonichus – own work, cc by-sa 4. 0, https://commons. Wikimedia. Org/w/index. Php? Curid=52323374

Habitat and distribution

The species can be found in all Eurasian countries from Norway to northern Italy and from Ussuri (East) to Snowdonia, West.

These leaf beetles are found in forests, meadows and montane grasslands above 600m above sea level.

Description

Chrysolina cerealis can grow to a length between 5.5-10 millimetres (0.222-0.39in). Males tend to be larger than females.

The colouration of the pronotum or elytra can vary. Usually, it is metallic green with three red and blue longitudinal stripes and golden reflections.

Subspecies Chrysolina mixtureta has a metallic blue pronotum. The underparts of the animal are dark blue.

Biology

From April through September, adults can be found. The larvae of this beetle live on base-rich screes.

They lay their eggs in June on grasses like Festuca ovina and Agrostis capillaris. However, both adults and larvae prefer wild Thymus polytrichus flowers over the leaves.

Other members of the genus

Chrysolina coerulans, Chrysolina fastuosa, Chrysolina herbacea, Chrysolina hyperici, Chrysolina karelini, Chrysolina limbata, Chrysolina olivieri, Chrysolina oricalcia, Chrysolina polygonia, Chrysolina staphylaea

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