What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Larvae of what?
Hi Mr. Bug Man, I came across these critters eating away at this tree by the hundreds of thousands. The Angeles Crest forest floor was strewn with thousands of leaves with the same lace-like damage done to them. This photo is of a leaf still on the tree with some of the culprits on board. Any idea which species this larvae belong to? Best regards,
H. Markarian

PS I’ve also attached a beautiful photo of a mantis gorging on a frog.

Dear H,
We wish you had included additional information on both of your images. The larvae look like Leaf Beetle Larvae in the family Chrysomelidae. We did a google search for California and came up with the Willow Leaf Beetle, Chrysomela aeneicollis. That is a guess. You did not provide size information which would have been helpful. We will see if Eric Eaton can correctly identify these larvae. Here is Eric’s input: “I am pretty certain you are correct, at least to family level. Without knowing the host tree, genus and species identification probably can’t be accomplished. Eric”. Also, did you shoot the Mantis photo with the Tree Frog? Was it shot in the wild or in captivity? Where was the photo taken if in the wild? So many unanswered questions on a beautiful image.

Thanks for such a prompt reply to my last email. Regarding the larvae, they were about as long as a fingernail. It wasn’t a willow tree they were munching on, but i looked up willow leaf beetle online and the larvae definitely resembled the ones I saw in the wild. I came across the larvae on a trail in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California. As regards the mantis eating the tree frog, both were caught from the wild separately and placed in the same container temporarily. We had no idea the mantis would be able to catch, hold and eat an animal much stronger and heavier than it was. I took the photo while the critters were in captivity. Thanks for your time and feedback. You have a fascinating website. Best Regards,
H. Markarian

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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