Poplar Leaf Beetle - Chrysomela populi

Scientific Name: Chrysomela populi (syn Melasoma populi).

English Name: Poplar Leaf Beetle.

French Name: La Chrysomele du peuplier, Mélasome du peuplier or Lina du peuplier.

5 Key Characters:
  • pronotum (section between head and body) black (or almost black, dark green or bronze).
  • elytra (wing cases) bright red (sometimes orangey) with a black mark at the tips.
  • found on poplars.
  • small, but bigger than a ladybird (10 - 12 mm long - medium large for a leaf beetle).
  • underside and legs black.
Lookalikes: C. bipuntatus, which is smaller, found on hazel, birch and oak, has black spots in the middle of the elytra and does not have 'shoulders'. Aspen Leaf Beetle C. tremula, which is smaller and does not have the black tip to the elytra.

Habitat: Poplars Populus spp, including Aspen, sometimes Sallows Salix spp.

Active Period: Adults are active April to September.

Status: Common and can be a forestry pest.

References and Further Information:
For good illustrations of a small selection of leaf beetles, including this species, see Insects of Britain and Western Europe by Michael Chinery.

For reliably identified photos of adults, larvae and eggs go to the Galerie des Insectes.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:
Photographs numbered from left to right and top to bottom. All photos will enlarge in a new window if you click on them. 1 - 4 on Poplar Populus sp in the Brenne, May. Note the black elytra tips can be clearly seen in 3.

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