Longitarsus -Flea beetle

Got confirmation yesterday via iSpot of a tiny beetle I found crawling up the back door post earlier in the month. It could be of the genus Longitarsus, one of the many species of flea beetles. In fact there are about 700 species of Longitarsus. Many are very similar and experts are needed to identify them down to species level, and that is one thing I am not!


The chap I found was less than 5mm in body length, orange metallic colouring, and the hind legs were enlarged. They are called flea beetles because of their escape mechanism of jumping vertically when disturbed. 


Adult flea beetles overwinter in leaf litter, garden debris, or other sheltered places. As temperatures begin rising in spring, the adults emerge and locate suitable host plants on which they feed. Some flea beetles will feed on weeds until garden crops are available. In late spring, female flea beetles lay eggs in the soil around the base of host plants. Tiny larvae feed on roots and root hairs for about a month, and then pupate in the soil. Multiple generations of flea beetles may occur in many areas.