ID of beetle
May 19, 2010
The young girl next door bought me this beetle for identification. It has a body length of 7 mm. Can anyone help? We live in Townsville, Queensland, Australia
Rick Speare
Roseneath, Townsville 19°21’S 146°50’E

Leaf Beetle

Dear Rick,
This is a Leaf Beetle, and we thought it resembled the genus Calligrapha which is well represented on BugGuide, a site devoted to North American species.  BugGuide pictures a green species, Calligrapha serpentina, and it looks strikingly like your beetle, though the markings are slightly different, possibly within the variation found in the species.  We found a single Australian Calligrapha on the Backyard Arthropod Project website, but it does not appear to be the same species as your individual.  No Leaf Beetles pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website look like your specimen.

Karl supplies an answer
May 25, 2010
Hi Daniel and Rick:
It looks like Calligrapha pantherina (Chrysomelidae), a species of leaf beetle that is native to Mexico and Central America. It was introduced to Australia’s Northern Territory in 1989 as a biocontrol agent to help in the fight against the invasive Spinyhead Sida (Sida acuta), also a native of the tropical Americas. It is host specific and apparently has been a successful introduction that has become established in the wetter areas of north Australia from Brisbane to parts of Western Australia. Regards.

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