Phyllotreta vittula Redtenbacher Barley flea beetle

Minor infestations of this flea beetle occur on grasses and cereals, including sweet corn. Adults graze the upper surface of the leaves, removing narrow strips of tissue between the veins; damaged areas appear whitish. Leaf symptoms are similar to those produced by cereal leaf beetles, Oulema spp. (p. 144 et seq.) but the stripes are much narrower and usually far less extensive. Barley flea beetles also feed on beet and brassica crops, such as cabbage, radish and turnip; they cause typical flea-beetle injury that, on seedlings in the spring, may be of some significance (see under Phyllotreta cruciferae, p. 146); the larvae also feed in the stems.


Adults become active in the spring, from March or April onwards. They often occur in association with brassica plants and also invade grasses and cereals. Eggs are laid in May and June. The larvae feed within the stems of brassicas and various other plants, eventually pupating in the soil. New adults appear in July or August. They feed briefly before seeking overwintering sites amongst debris on the ground.


Adult 1.5-1.8mm long, black with a wide longitudinal, yellow stripe along each elytron; distinguished from Phyllotreta nemorum (p. 147) by the smaller size, the narrower, straighter elytral band, the more parallel-sided elytra and mainly black tibiae. Larva up to 4mm long; body whitish and relatively slender; head blackish; anal segment with a minute tail-like peg (pseudopod).

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