Insect in the spotlight: Alder leaf beetle

Another member of the leaf beetle family (Chrysomelidae) in this post. Over the past months I had two, maybe three encounters with members of this species (Agelastica alni). The first encounter was in my garden, where I was looking for insects to blog about. This particular individual was just relaxing on the butterfly bush, like other species where doing as well. This beetle caught my eye, because although it wasn’t brightly coloured like the rosemary leaf beetle, it was still shiny and had a nice dark blue metallic shade that nail polish manufacturers should take note of 😉 .

Alder leaf beetle

 

 

 

 

 

 

My second encounter with a Alder leaf beetle was during a coffee break at my work. I was sitting outside when all of a sudden this beetle landed on me. Of course I had to take a better look at the beetle that had so much courage to just land on me. One of my colleagues took the picture for me (thank you Elpida!).

Alder leaf beetle #2

 

 

 

 

 

 

My possible third encounter may have been while I was on vacation in Scotland, where I encountered a bunch of shiny beetles feeding on a plant. Unfortunately though, the pictures are somewhat fuzzy, so I cannot say with a 100% certainty that they were the same species.

The name of the species betrays which trees it prefer, namely the Alder tree. It also likes the hazel and willow trees. It can become a pest if there are many beetles on one tree, because they eat the leaves and suck plant sap, which could lead to the death of the infested tree. In the Netherlands, where I live, this species is very common, but in America it is considered an invasive species.

 

More information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agelastica_alni

http://insectoid.info/beetles/leaf-beetle/alder-leaf-beetle/

 

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