1cm likes fruit not grass or strawberry leaves
March 26, 2010
End of March (so we’re in autumn), and it’s been 5 degrees (c) warmer than usual here (25C or so).
My son noticed the brown / red 1cm long bug in our local icecream shop and brought it home.
Gave it a piece of plum and it seemed interested in it. It has biting mouth parts.
We’ve seen black feathery ends to wings under the back cover but haven’t seen it fly.
It can move quite quickly but not so quickly that it is easy to loose when on your finger.
Walks around the container we have it in constantly during the day. Not sure what happens at night.
It got out of it’s container yesterday evening but was found 1m away this morning so it’s not travelling too far.
We live in a commercial port town with lots of container work so know people who have seen non-native species before.
The local folks we’ve shown the bug to, including ourselves, have never noticed a buglike this in New Zealand.
Would love to know what you think it might be.
Lyttelton, New Zealand
We are certain that this is a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae, and it is probably in the subfamily Chrysomelinae. It most closely resembles the Eucalyptus Leaf Beetles in the genus Chrysophtharta or possibly Paropsisterna, though we have not had success with a perfect visual match on the Brisbane Insect website which indicates the two genera have been combined by stating: “The genus Paropsisterna has been recently expanded to include Chrysophtharta. They are native to Australia and New Guinea. There are more than a hundred species in this genus in Australia.” The closest match is the Marble Leaf Beetle, Paropsisterna semifumata, but it is not exact.
Update: November 11, 2012
We just approved a comment identifying this as the Eucalyptus Tortoise Beetle, Paropsis charybdis, and we found a nice page devoted to the species on the NZ Farm Forestry website.