Gastrophysa viridula Degeer Dock beetle

This generally common species occurs mainly on Rumex. The adults and larvae graze the surface and also bite out large holes in the leaves between the major veins. Infestations also occur on crops of rhubarb, and on certain other cultivated plants, the insects causing minor damage to the leaves and petioles.

BIOLOGY

Adults emerge from hibernation in late March or April. They then invade host plants to feed on the leaves. After mating, impregnated females (each now with a greatly distended abdomen) deposit groups of eggs on the underside of the leaves, each egg being placed more or less flush with the leaf surface. Eggs hatch 1-2 weeks later. The larvae feed for about 3 weeks, passing through three instars. When fully grown, they drop to the ground and enter the soil to pupate a few centimetres below the surface. Adults of the next generation appear 1-2 weeks later. There are usually three overlapping generations annually.

DESCRIPTION

Adult 4-6 mm long, metallic green, but sometimes blue to purplish or coppery; legs and antennae black; thorax and elytra distinctly punctured; in impregnated female, the black and greatly swollen abdomen protrudes beyond the tips of the elytra. Egg 1.5 x 1.0mm, elongate-oval, pale yellow and shiny. Larva up to 8 mm long; body sausage-shaped and shiny black; head shiny black; thoracic legs well developed; anal pseudopod prominent.

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