- Terrestrial Biomes
- desert or dune
- Other Habitat Features
- Sexual Dimorphism
- female larger
- Range length
- 5.0 to 6.6 mm
- 0.20 to 0.26 in
Adults become sexually mature during winter. After overwintering, the willow leaf beetles appear on plants in early spring. The preoviposition period lasts 1 to 2 weeks, starting on the first day that the beetles appear on plants. Adults are very active during this period, flying around host plants looking for mates. To mate, the male mounts on the back of the female. Multiple matings are very common. (LeSage, 1995)
- Mating System
- polygynandrous (promiscuous)
- Key Reproductive Features
- seasonal breeding
- gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
- Breeding interval
- Willow leaf beetles produce 2 to 3 generations in southern states, but only 1 generation in Canada.
- Breeding season
- Willow leaf beetles breed in spring in the northern portion of their range, and may have a second summer generation in the southern portion.
- Range eggs per season
- 100 to 400
- Range gestation period
- 1 to 2 weeks
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female)
- 31 to 37 days
- Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male)
- 31 to 37 days
There is no parental involvement in development other than provisioning of eggs.
- Parental Investment
A typical generation from egg to adult takes about 34 days. Adults live for an extended time after emergence. The final generation of adults enters diapause through the winter and starts mating and egg-laying again in the spring. (DeSwarte and Balsbaugh, 1973; LeSage, 1995)
- Typical lifespan
- 2 to 12 months
- Typical lifespan
Larvae of Chrysomelinae that phenolic glycoside composition can have a major effect on host choice, and this is likely the case with this species also. Both males and females can fly, though they do not fly long distances as they keep close to shore. Adults become more active and airborne when looking for mates. is most active during the day. (Bach, 1993a; Bach, 1993b; Bach, 1993c; Gannon, et al., 1994; Bach, 1993a; Bach, 1993b; Bach, 1993c; Gannon, et al., 1994; Bach and Carr, 1990; Bach, 1993a; Bach, 1993b; Bach, 1993c; Gannon, et al., 1994; Tahvanainen, et al., 1985)aggregate in large groups on willow tree hosts to feed, but regularly move from one plant to another. Adults also aggregate on hosts. They tend to aggregate more frequently on host plants that occur in high humidity habitats and have taller stems. On dune habitats in the Great Lakes, they concentrate on the youngest dunes near the shore, and avoid host plants on older, heavily vegetated dunes. It has been shown in other willow-feeding
Communication and Perception
Chrysomelinae, and it is suspected that sequesters defense compounds as well. Willow leaf beetles communicate with other beetles through touch, during mating and aggregation, and can detect each other visually. They can also sense their environment visually, with smells and chemicals, and through touch. (Rowell-Rahier and Pasteels, 1986; Tahvanainen, et al., 1985)is generally known to find and accept host plants based on phenolic glycoside content. Many similar species also sequester compounds that are used as defense. This is well documented in some
Salix interior, the sandbar willow, but it will also feed on Salix amygdaloides. On the shores of the Great Lakes it feeds on Salix cordata, the sand dune willow. Young larvae eat only on the underside of the leaves, while later instars and adults eat the entire leaf, leaving only the veins. Larvae are far more likely to feed on young leaves with a high density of trichomes. Adults will feed on older leaves, but are also more likely to eat younger leaves. (Bach and Carr, 1990; LeSage, 1995)is a specialist herbivore on willows. Along rivers over much of the range, this beetle feeds primarily on
- Plant Foods
Carabid beetles of the genus Lebia are known to prey on Altica larvae, and are likely a predator of . It is possible that sequesters phenolic glycosides and uses these as defense, as is known for some willow-feeding Chrysomelinae. The bright, metallic blue coloration (likely aposematic) and aggregation behavior also suggest this could be true. The aggregation behavior itself also functions as a defensive mechanism, allowing both the larvae and the adults to appear larger and more intimidating. (Bach, 1993b; Bach, 1993c; Bach, 1993d; DeSwarte and Balsbaugh, 1973; Pettis, 2005; Tahvanainen, et al., 1985)
- Anti-predator Adaptations
- Known Predators
- Salix cordata
- Salix interior
- Salix amygdaloides
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
There are no known positive effects ofon humans.
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
There are no known adverse affects ofon humans.
This species is not a conservation concern, but it is a major herbivore on dunes habitats along the Great Lakes where several other threatened or endangered species occur.
Michael Leasia (author), University of Michigan Biological Station, Brian Scholtens (author, editor), University of Michigan Biological Station, Angela Miner (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
having coloration that serves a protective function for the animal, usually used to refer to animals with colors that warn predators of their toxicity. For example: animals with bright red or yellow coloration are often toxic or distasteful.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
- bilateral symmetry
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
used loosely to describe any group of organisms living together or in close proximity to each other - for example nesting shorebirds that live in large colonies. More specifically refers to a group of organisms in which members act as specialized subunits (a continuous, modular society) - as in clonal organisms.
- desert or dunes
in deserts low (less than 30 cm per year) and unpredictable rainfall results in landscapes dominated by plants and animals adapted to aridity. Vegetation is typically sparse, though spectacular blooms may occur following rain. Deserts can be cold or warm and daily temperates typically fluctuate. In dune areas vegetation is also sparse and conditions are dry. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. Salt limits the ability of plants to take up water through their roots.
a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.
- active during the day, 2. lasting for one day.
animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature
union of egg and spermatozoan
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.
the state that some animals enter during winter in which normal physiological processes are significantly reduced, thus lowering the animal's energy requirements. The act or condition of passing winter in a torpid or resting state, typically involving the abandonment of homoiothermy in mammals.
- internal fertilization
fertilization takes place within the female's body
A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
- native range
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.
chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species
an animal which has a substance capable of killing, injuring, or impairing other animals through its chemical action (for example, the skin of poison dart frogs).
the kind of polygamy in which a female pairs with several males, each of which also pairs with several different females.
Referring to something living or located adjacent to a waterbody (usually, but not always, a river or stream).
- scent marks
communicates by producing scents from special gland(s) and placing them on a surface whether others can smell or taste them
- seasonal breeding
breeding is confined to a particular season
offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).
Living on the ground.
movements of a hard surface that are produced by animals as signals to others
uses sight to communicate
Bach, C. 1993. Effects of microclimate and plant characteristics on the distribution of a willow flea beetle, American Midland Naturalist, 130: 193-208..
Bach, C. 1994. Effects of a specialist herbivore (Salix cordata and sand dune succession. Ecological Monographs, 64: 423-445.) on
Bach, C. 1990. Plant successional stage and insect herbivory: flea beetles on sand-dune willow. Ecology, 71: 598-609.
DeSwarte, D., E. Balsbaugh. 1973. Biologies of Disonycha alternata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), two flea beetles that feed on sandbar willow. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 66: 1349-1353.and
Pettis, G. 2005. "Management of insect pests of crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia spp) with special reference to the ecology and biology of Altica litigata Fall (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)" (On-line pdf). Athenaeum @ UGA. Accessed March 23, 2013 at http://athenaeum.libs.uga.edu/handle/10724/8204.
Rickelmann, K., C. Bach. 1986. Effects of soil-moisture on the pupation behavior of Coleoptera: Chysomelidae: Cassidinae). Journal of New York Entomological Society, 94: 98-114.(
Rowell-Rahier, M., J. Pasteels. 1986. Economics of chemical defense in Chrysomelinae. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 12: 1189-1203.
Shen, C., C. Bach. 1997. Genetic variation in resistance and tolerance to insect herbivory in Salix cordata. Ecological Entomology, 22: 335-342.
Tahvanainen, J., R. Julkunen-Tiitto, J. Kettunen. 1985. Phenolic glycosides govern the food selection pattern of willow feeding leaf beetles. Oecologia, 67: 52-56.