i’ve got a feelin down deep in my adeagus that i just can’t lose…
– apologies to Lionel Richie and fans.
Persimmon beetles, Anomoea laticlavia, are members of Chrysomelidae, the leaf-eating beetles.
Guess where we found them? In addition to getting busy with each other in a variety of postures, they appeared (simultaneously, in some cases) to be making short work of young leaves of American persimmon, Diospyros virginiana. Persimmon beetles belong to the subfamily Cryptocephalinae, or Case-bearing beetles. They lay eggs that are enclosed in carefully constructed containers made of feces and other excretions. As the larvae mature, they open and flip the case, using it as a base to construct a more elaborate structure (or ‘scatoshell’) also made from feces and leaf detritus. (1,2,3,4)
Although records in NC are mostly from Persimmon, in other parts of the SE , this species is also associated with legumes (Fabaceae), oaks (Quercus), willow (Salix), and in the Great Plains, more specifically with leadplant (Amorpha). (1) In our yard, they also appeared to be seeking and eating Carolina cherry (Prunus caroliniana), and black cherry, (P. serotina), although in smaller numbers. They are not noted agricultural pests.
Many of the leaf-eating beetles (during their larval phase) are myrmecophiles – they have some association with ants. Anomoea spp. have been noted to eat ant detritus and humus. (4)
- Baker, James. “Claycolored Leaf Beetle PDIC Factsheets.” Claycolored Leaf Beetle | NC State Extension Publications. N.p., 10 June 2015. Web. 11 May 2017.
- Morphology and Systematics: Phytophaga, Richard A.B. Leschen, Rolf G. Beutel. Walter de Gruyter, Apr 1, 2014
- Eaton, Eric R., Rick Bowers, and Kenn Kaufman. Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. Print.
- Agrain FA, Buffington ML, Chaboo CS, Chamorro ML, Schöller M (2015) Leaf beetles are ant-nest beetles: the curious life of the juvenile stages of case-bearers (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae, Cryptocephalinae). In: Jolivet P, Santiago-Blay J, Schmitt M (Eds) Research on Chrysomelidae 5. ZooKeys 547: 133–164. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.547.6098