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Dogbane Leaf Beetle (Chrysochus auratus)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Dogbane Leaf Beetle, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 6/30/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Dogbane Leaf Beetle  
Picture of Dogbane-Leaf-Beetle
Picture of Dogbane-Leaf-Beetle Picture of Dogbane-Leaf-BeetlePicture of Dogbane-Leaf-Beetle

The metallic Dogbane Leaf Beetle may be a friend or foe to humans depending on your outlook.

Metallic green and coppery hues make this beetle stand out from the rest. Its tiny size mean it might get overlooked in nature.

Dogbane leaf beetles mate, feed and grow on the Dogbane plant. Adults feed on the leaves of the plant. They also find mates on the plant. Females lay a couple of fertilized eggs in a pile of their own feces and attach the sticky clump to the underside of a leaf. Once hatched, the Dogbane Leaf Beetle larvae chew their way out of the feces pile and then drop to the base of the plant, burrowing down to feed on the roots. The result of all of this is death to the Dogbane plant.

Dogbane plants are also known as Indian Hemp, or American Hemp. This plant's fibrous stem was historically used to make thin cords and ropes, and it still is. Archaeological digs have even found remnants of such cords implying it was used by Native Americans. The plant is also known to have some medicinal uses, though not much since the 1950's. The plant actually produces a toxin, which in small doses or special preparations, was somewhat useful, but on the whole, it is still poisonous to humans and animals. In fact, dogs (and sheep and other livestock) were kept away from this toxic plant because ingesting its sweet, sticky sap caused death.

The Dogbane Leaf Beetle could be considered a pest of a useful plant, or a control for a deadly one. None of this, however, detracts from the Dogbane Leaf Beetle's keen ability to carve out a niche for itself in the 'dog-eat-dog' insect world.

Picture of the Dogbane Leaf Beetle
Picture of the Dogbane Leaf Beetle

Dogbane Leaf Beetle Information

Category: Beetle
Common Name: Dogbane Leaf Beetle
Scientific Name: Chrysochus auratus
Other Name(s): Golden Beetle

Taxonomy Hierarchy

 Arrow graphic Kingdom: Animalia
  Arrow graphic Phylum: Arthropoda
   Arrow graphic Class: Insecta
    Arrow graphic Order: Coleoptera
     Arrow graphic Family: Chrysomelidae
      Arrow graphic Genus: Chrysochus
       Arrow graphic Species: auratus

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 8 mm to 11 mm (0.312 inches to 0.429 inches)
Identifying Colors: copper; green; brown;
Additional Descriptors: metallic, shiny, copper, emerald, flying, harmful

North American Territorial Reach (Though Not Limited To): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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