Chrysomelidae-Paropsinae Click to enlarge image
Leaf Beetle, Family Chrysomelidae, Sub-family Paropsinae Image: Bruce Hulbert
© Bruce Hulbert

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Genus
    Various including Paropsis
    Subfamily
    Chrysomelinae
    Family
    Chrysomelidae
    Super Family
    Chrysomeloidea
    Suborder
    Polyphaga
    Order
    Coleoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Number of Species
    450
  • Size Range
    1cm - 1.5 cm

Introduction

Paropsine beetles are a group of moderately large and often brightly coloured leaf beetles belonging to several genera of the family Chrysomelidae.

Habitat

Paropsine beetles live in urban areas, forests and woodlands, and heath.

Distribution

Paropsine beetles are found throughout Australia.

Feeding and diet

Paropsine beetles feed primarily on eucalypts and acacias. Both the adults and larvae eat plant material and are extremely poisonous if eaten. Adult beetles often have peck marks where birds have attempted to eat them but rejected them after tasting the poison.


Paropsis beetle larvae
Paropsis beetle larvae Image: unknown
© Australian Museum

Other behaviours and adaptations

One of their characteristics is that they can withdraw their legs and antennae from predators while sitting on a leaf.

Economic impacts

Paropsine beetles may be pests in commercial eucalypt plantations. However, they rarely cause long-term damage as their numbers are controlled by parasitic flies of the family Tachinidae that lay eggs on the beetle larvae. The fly maggots eat the beetle grubs' insides.

Predators

Parasitism by tachinid flies can affect as many as 98% of all paropsine beetle larvae.