Plesispa Chapuis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae) contains seven species from the Pacific Region (Staines 2012) and is in need of revision. Plesispa reichei Chapuis is the only species associated with palms and may be a serious pest of young coconut palms.


Plesispa reichei is found in Australia (Queensland), Indonesia (Celebes, Java, Sumatra), Malaysia, New Britain, New Guinea, Philippines (Basilan, Luzon, Mindanao, Negros), Sri Lanka, and Thailand.


Plesispa reichei feeds on Cocos nucifera L. (Dammerman 1919); Areca cathecu L., Metroxylon sagu Rorrboil, Calamus sp., Archontophoenix sp., Daemonorops sp., Korthalsia sp. (Arecaceae), Flagellaria indica L. (Flagellariaceae) (Gressitt 1957, 1960, 1963); Nipa fruticans Thunb., Roystonea regia H.B.K. (Lepesme 1947); Arenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merrill, and Cyrtostachys renda Blume (Howard & Abad 2001) (Arecaceae).


Adults and larvae of P. reichei are destructive to young coconut palms (usually under 8 years old). They feed on the young unopened fronds causing long incisions parallel to one another and to the veins. When the fronds open, much of the tissue dies and shrivels and the fronds are further damaged by the wind. The larvae are external feeders. The growth of young palms is delayed, and in prolonged outbreaks, may result in plant death (Corbett 1923a, b; Kalshoven 1951).

Life history notes

Adult females of P. reichei may live from 6-8 months and lay 50-95 eggs. They entire life cycle takes from 40-64 days. The developmental periods are: egg- 10 days; larva- 27-43 days; and pupa- 6-11 days (Corbett 1923a, b; Kalshoven 1951).


Corbett, G. H. 1923a. The two-coloured coconut leaf beetle (Plesispa reichei Chap.). Department of Agriculture, Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States Bulletin 34: 1-20.

Corbett, G. H. 1923b. Preliminary note on the two-coloured coconut leaf beetle (Plesispa reichei Chap.). Malayan Agricultural Journal 11: 64-69.

Dammerman, K. W. 1919. Landbrouw-dierkunde van Oost-Indie. De schadelijke en nuttige dieren vorr land-turin-en boschbouw in Oost-Indie. J. H. de Bussy, Amsterdam. 368 pp.

Gressitt, J. L. 1957. Hispine beetles from the South Pacific (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Nova Guinea n. s. 8: 205‑324.

Gressitt, J. L. 1960. Papuan-West Polynesian hispine beetles (Chrysomelidae). Pacific Insects 2: 1-90.

Gressitt, J. L. 1963. Hispine beetles (Chrysomelidae) from New Guinea. Pacific Insects 5: 591‑714.

Howard, F. W. & R. G. Abad. 2001. Coleoptera. pp. 81-104 in F. W. Howard, D. Moore, D. M. Giblin-Davis, & R. G. Abad (eds). Insects on palms. CABI Publishing. Wallingford.

Kalshoven, K. G. E. 1951. De plagen van de cultuurgewassen in Indonesië. Deel II. N.V. Uitgeverij, W. Van Hoeve. ‘S-Gravenhage. pp. 515-1065.

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

Staines, C. L. 2012. Tribe Cryptonychini. Catalog of the hispines of the world (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae).

Last updated November 2016