Defensive Behaviors in Leaf Beetles: From the Unusual to the Weird

  • Caroline S. ChabooEmail author
Part of the Signaling and Communication in Plants book series (SIGCOMM, volume 8)


Chrysomelid leaf beetles are a geologically ancient group of primarily herbivorous insects. As herbivores, they are important ecologically, in food chains, and economically, as pests or as bio-controls in agriculture. This paper reviews some of the interesting defenses they show in relation to living exposed on plants. Gregariousness and subsocial behaviors (maternal guarding) in two groups of chrysomelids help individuals to survive predators and parasites. Larvae, and sometimes eggs, may be covered with feces to avoid detection or to deter attacks. Sequestering noxious chemicals from host plants is another strategy for survival. Some chrysomelids maintain some chemicals that are so toxic, that in Bushmen tribes in southern Africa use the beetles as a source of poisons for their hunting arrows.


Maternal Care Leaf Beetle Carabid Beetle Spider Silk Gregarious Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of EntomologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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