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Species Chrysomela scripta - Cottonwood Leaf Beetle

Cottonwood Leaf Beetle - Chrysomela scripta Larva - Chrysomela scripta Cottonwood Leaf Beetle - Chrysomela scripta Leaf beetle (1) - Chrysomela scripta beetle - Chrysomela scripta grub - Chrysomela scripta Chrysomela scripta? - Chrysomela scripta Cottonwood leaf beetle - Chrysomela scripta
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga
No Taxon (Series Cucujiformia)
Superfamily Chrysomeloidea (Longhorn and Leaf Beetles)
Family Chrysomelidae (Leaf Beetles)
Subfamily Chrysomelinae
Tribe Chrysomelini
Subtribe Chrysomelina
Genus Chrysomela
No Taxon (Subgenus Macrolina)
Species scripta (Cottonwood Leaf Beetle)
Explanation of Names
Chrysomela scripta Fabricius 1801
scripta = 'written over'
5.4-10 mm(1)
transcontinental, Canada to Mexico - Map (1)(2)
hosts: willows, poplars/cottonwoods (Populus, Salix, Salicaceae)(3); larvae skeletonize leaves, while adults attack only midrib and large veins(4)
Life Cycle
Yellow or reddish eggs laid on clusters on underside of leaves. Up to five broods per year. Overwinter as adults.(4)

Overwinter under loose bark, debris or clumps of grass.(5)

Eggs are deposited in groups of 15-75 eggs on the undersides of leaves. The young are gregarious and feed in groups, skeletonizing leaves. Later they consume the entire leaf except the larger veins. To pupate, they attach to leaf surface, bark, weeds and/or grass beneath the trees. There are several generations per year.(5)

Eggs, larva, pupae and adult, adult female laying eggs
Most common and widespread member of this genus; used to be considered a pest when willows were grown commercially for baskets, now of little economic consequence(6)

Larvae have scent glands on their sides near the 2 whitish spots. They emit a pungent odor when disturbed.(5)
Print References
Augustin, S., M.R. Wagner, J. Chenault, and K.M. Clancy. 1997. Influence of pulp and paper mill wastewater on Chrysomela scripta (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) performance and Populus plant traits. Environmental Entomology 26(6): 1327-1335.
Augustin, S., M.R. Wagner, and K.M. Clancy. 1994. Chrysomela scripta performance on five poplar clones. Norwegian Journal of Agricultural Sciences, Supplement 18: 111-117.
Burkot, T.R. and D.M. Benjamin. 1979. The biology and ecology of the cottonwood leaf beetle, Chrysomela scripta (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), on tissue cultured hybrid Aigeiros (Populus x euramericana) subclones in Wisconsin. The Canadian Entomologist 111: 551-556.
Harrell, M.O., D.M. Benjamin, J.G. Berbee, and T.R. Burkot. 1981. Evaluation of adult cottonwood leaf beetle, Chrysomela scripta (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), feeding preference for hybrid poplars. The Great Lakes Entomologist 14(4): 181-184.
Harrell, M.O., D.M. Benjamin, J.G. Berbee, and T.R. Burkot. 1982. Consumption and utilization of leaf tissue of tissue-cultured Populus x euramericana by the cottonwood leaf beetle, Chrysomela scripta (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). The Canadian Entomologist 114: 743-749.
Head, R.B., W.W. Neel, and R.C. Morris. 1977. Seasonal occurrence of the cottonwood leaf beetle Chrysomela scripta (Fab.) and its principal insect predators in Mississippi and notes on parasites. Journal of the Georgia Entomological Society 12(2): 157-163.
Wallace, J.B. and M.S. Blum. 1969. Refined defensive mechanisms in Chrysomela scripta. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 62(3): 503-506.
Internet References
Featured Creatures(7) - Chi & Mizell, 2012
Works Cited
1.Beetles of Eastern North America
Arthur V. Evans. 2014. Princeton University Press.
2.Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)
3.Host plants of leaf beetle species occurring in the United States and Canada
Clark et al. 2004. Coleopterists Society, Special Publication no. 2, 476 pp.
4.Introduction to North American Beetles
Charles S. Papp. 1984. Entomography Pubns.
5.Eastern Forest Insects
Whiteford L. Baker. 1972. U.S. Department of Agriculture · Forest Service.
6.Peterson Field Guides: Beetles
Richard E. White. 1983. Houghton Mifflin Company.
7.University of Florida: Featured Creatures