Lantana Leafminer Beetle from Australia

Subject: Smiley-Faced Bug
Location: Sans Souci, Sydney Australia
January 24, 2015 9:00 am
Hi, I was hoping you might be able to identify this smiley faced bug from Nsw, Australia.
David Miller
Signature: David Miller

Leafminer Beetle
Lantana Leafminer Beetle

Dear David,
This sure looks to us like a Leafminer Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae, probably a Lantana Leafminer Beetle,
Octotoma scabripennis, which we found pictured on the Brisbane Insect Website where it states:  “Lantana Leafminer Beetles are easily found on Lantana. Their larvae mine in the middle layers of leaves and pupate there. The adult beetles feed on the leaf surface. “  We also learned:  “Lantana Leafminer Beetles are introduced to Australia as a biological control to the weed Lantana Lantana camara.  The beetle’s feeding activities reduce plant vigour and suppress flowering.”  The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Biosecurity Queensland site has an excellent Fact Sheet on the Lantana Leafminer Beetle where we learned:  ”  Octotoma scabripennis occurs naturally from Mexico to Nicaragua.  Cultures of Octotoma scabripennis originated from Mexico.  The insect was first released in Australia in 1966.”  The Lantana Leafminer Beetle is also pictured on the American Insects site.

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