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Acacia Leaf Beetle1
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Synodita Leaf Beetle


Acacia Leaf Beetle - Dicranosterna picea

Subfamily Chrysomelinae, FAMILY CHRYSOMELIDAE

This page contains information and pictures about Acacia Leaf Beetles that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Body length 12mm

This Acacia Leaf Beetle is the most common leaf beetle that found in Brisbane.

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They are reddish-brown in colour. We easily found many of them on the Acacia trees, from early summer to later summer. Both adults and larvae feed on Acacia leaves. They usually found on larger Acacia trees of trees taller than 2 meters.  

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Most other Leaf Beetle adults only found during mid summer season. The Acacia Leaf Beetle adults can be found on Acacia all year round in Brisbane, although larvae mostly found in summer season.
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Acacia Leaf Beetle Eggs

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Female laying egg on Acacia leaf                           The egg just laid
On early summer, we found something look like insect eggs on an Acacia leaf, near them there was some Acacia Leaf Beetle adults. We believed they are their eggs. We brought them home and a week later, the eggs turned into three little beetle larvae, dark brown in colour, with the same body shape as the later instars. 
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Eggs 2mm, 1st instars 2mm 
A week later, we found another batch of eggs on an Acacia leaf, the egg colour look a little bit different. We took them home, later in the evening, those eggs started to hatch as shown in the above picture. The dark larvae had came out a few minutes ago and starting to eat its egg case. The lighter brown colour one had just came out. Watch carefully, we can see the other two egg case were about to open.

Larvae and Pupa

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Larva body length 5mm                                        Length 10mm
Early summer we found many colourful larvae on a Acacia tree in Wishart bushland. Their abdomen is round like a ball, orange-red in colour, with black dots. They were feeding openly on leaves. 
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At first we did not know they are the Acacia Leaf Beetle larvae. Anyway, we thought they should be beetle larvae. We collected two of them and brought them home with some Acacia leave as their food.
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Pupa length 10mm                                                                                                                            Just hatched
The two larvae had no problem in a jar and kept on feeding on the leaves. We clean the jar and put in new leaves every two days. They were slow moving. About a week later, they went down to the bottom of the jar and rest without motion. A day later, they moult and became pupa. The pupa are not motionless. If disturbed, they will quickly wave their abdomen a few times.
After eight days, the two pupa turned into the Acacia Leaf Beetles. After keeping them a few days, we brought them back to the bush.

Leaf Beetle Parasitoids

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We found the Leaf Beetle eggs on Acacia leaf in Karawatha Forest during early summer. We brought the leaf home with the eggs. We kept the eggs in a jar and expected to see the Leaf Beetle nymphs came out. However, a few days later, we saw some small black wasp flying inside the jar. Carefully inspected the eggs, all eggs had a round opening, which is the typical mark made by parasitic wasp when they emerge. All five eggs were infected.

The Host Plant 

Black Wattle
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Acacia leiocalyx 

Black Wattles are one of the most common trees in Brisbane's Eucalypt forest and bushland. 

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Many of this species beetles can be found on the same Black Wattle trees. Both adults and larvae can be found at the same time. They seems perfect large wattle instead of young wattle. On some infected trees, every leaves might have the beetles' bite marks. 

Thank to Chris Reid for the identification of this leaf beetle.
1. Dicranosterna immaculata - Botanic Gardens Trust. 
2. A taxonomic revision of the Australian Chrysomelinae, with a key to the genera (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) - Reid, C.A.M., Zootaxa 1292, 2006, Fig 39.
3. Wild Plants of Greater Brisbane -  Queensland Museum, 2003, p121. 

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Last updated: February 28, 2011.