Species: Ragwort Flea Beetle (Longitarsus jacobaeae)

Family: Flea or leaf beetles (CHRYSOMELIDAE)

Category: Insects (Other)

Location: SE

A. Insects (Other)

More extensive information on insects can be found in a separate blog post.

B. Flea or leaf beetles (CHRYSOMELIDAE)

Flea beetles, also known as Leaf beetles, cover between 40,000 and 50,000 different species of small beetles which are grouped into numerous sub-families. No single characteristic defines this family of insects. As with other beetles, the life-cycle includes larvae and adults, both of which feed on plant tissue. Many are pests of crops.

C. Ragwort Flea Beetle (Longitarsus jacobaeae)

These insects have enlarged femurs, which is typical of flea beetles, enabling them to be strong jumpers. They can be seen all year round, although they peak in the late spring and summer months. They are widespread in Britain and reasonably common, although very difficult to spot because of their diminutive size.

There are two small insects resembling this small red beetle. One is Sphaeroderma testaceum, and the other is Longitarsus jacobaeae. Both are leaf beetles. The former feeds on thistles and has pale antennae. The latter, the Ragwort Flea Beetle, feeds on Ragwort leaves and has antennae that progressively darken towards the tips. We believe that the individual shown here, photographed by one of our keen-eyed volunteers, is a Ragwort Flea Beetle because it was spotted on a Common Ragwort plant.

Images

Ragwort Flea Beetle (Longitarsus jacobaeae)

These insects have enlarged femurs, which is typical of flea beetles, enabling them to be strong jumpers. They can be seen all year round, although they peak in the late spring and summer months. They are widespread in Britain and reasonably common, although very difficult to spot because of their diminutive size.