Mecistomela

Introduction

Mecistomela Jacobson (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae) contains the species M. marginata (Thunberg) from Brazil (Staines 2012).

Distribution

Mecistomela marginata is found in Brazil (Bahia, Distrito Federal, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo).

Hosts

Mecistomela marginata (Thunberg) feeds on Arecastrum romanoffianum (Cham.) Becc. (Schlottfeldt 1944); Allagoptera arenaria (Gomes) O’Ktze, Cocos nucifera L., Diplothemium sp., Livistona sp., Copernicia sp., Elaeis guineensis Jacq., Phoenix sp. (Jolivet & Hawkeswood 1995); Livistona chinensis R. Br. (Maulik 1937); Cocos botyophora Mart., and C. campestris Mart. (Lepesme 1947) (Arecaceae).

Damage

Larval feeding damage is symmetrical deep feeding scars on the fronds. This causes leaves to tear in the wind and may also introduce fungal pathogens such as bud rot (see bud rot fact sheet) (Bondar 1915, 1940; Ferreira et al. 1998; Macedo et al. 1994).

Adults leave conspicuous feeding lines parallel to the main vein. This species prefers younger plants and feeding delays development. Larval damage is more serious than that of adults (Bondar 1915, 1940; Ferreira et al. 1998; Macedo et al. 1994).

Life history notes

In Brazil, M. marginata is active all year. Due to their size (28-30 mm), adult beetles are conspicuous on the fronds of palms. When disturbed they drop from the plant and if handled they regurgitate a yellow liquid which may be a defensive action (Bondar 1915, 1940; Ferreira et al. 1998; Macedo et al. 1994).

Mating occurs throughout the year and new adults are continuously emerging. The 1 cm long eggs are deposited as single eggs or in small clusters on both live and dead fronds. The eggs hatch in about one month. Larvae migrate to and feed on buds until the final instar and pupate on a petiole. Teneral adults are yellow and unable to fly; they fully darken and harden in about four days. Adults are long-lived; males live 10 months and females eight (Bondar 1915, 1940; Ferreira et al. 1998; Macedo et al. 1994).

Bibliography

Bondar, G. 1915. Os coqueiros do littoral brasileiro e suas pragas. Boletim da Agricultura São Paulo 16: 435-441.

Bondar, G. 1940. Pragas do coqueiro da família dos Chrysomelideos (comedores de fôlhas). Chacaras e Quintaes 62 (5): 611-614.

Ferreira, J. M. S., D. R. N. Warwick, & L. A. Siqueira. 1998. A cultura do coqueiro no Brasil. Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária. Brasília. 2nd edition. 292 pp.

Jolivet, P. & T. J. Hawkeswood. 1995. Host-plants of Chrysomelidae of the world. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden. 281 pp.

Lepesme, P. 1947. Les insectes des palmiers. Lechevailer, Paris. 903 pp.

de Macedo, M. V., R. F. Monteiro, and T. M. Lewinsohn. 1994. Biology and ecology of Mecistomela marginata (Thunberg, 1821) (Hispinae: Alurnini) in Brazil. pp. 567-571 in P. H. Jolivet, M. L. Cox, & E. Petitpierre (eds.) Novel aspects of the biology of Chrysomelidae. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 582 pp.

Maulik, S. 1937. Distributional correlation between Hispine beetles and their host plants. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, Ser. A:1 29‑159.

Schlottfeldt, C. S. 1944. Insetos encontrados em plantas cultivadas e communs- Viçosa, Minas Gerais. Revista Ceres 6 (32): 108-127.

Staines, C. L. 2012. Tribe Alurnini. Catalog of the hispines of the world (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae). http://entomology.si.edu/Collections_Coleoptera.html

Last updated November 2016

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