Lochmaea suturalis (Thomson, C.G., 1866)

Taxonomy: Polyphaga > Chrysomeloidea > Chrysomelidae > Lochmaea > Lochmaea suturalis

Common name: 

Heather Beetle

Images

Lochmaea suturalis

Description

Size: 4.3-6mm
Basic colour: Brown to dark ochre-coloured or occasionally dark brown-black.
Pattern colour: Elytral suture usually narrowly darkened. Head black with a yellowish to brownish spot in front of the eyes, although this may be difficult to see.
Number of spots: None (apart from the tiny one on the head)
Pronotoum: As basic colour, shinier than in L. caprea
Leg colour: As basic colour
Confusion species: Lochmaea caprea

Palaearctic; introduced to New Zealand for biological control of heather which is invasive there.

Biology

Status: Widespread
Habitat: Anywhere with heathers or heaths plus a damp understory of moss or leaves for egg-laying and pupation.
Host plant: Heather Calluna vulgaris, rarely heaths (Erica spp)
Overwintering: As adults
Food: Adults on young shoots; larvae on leaves and stems.
Other notes: Economic importance due to damage to heather on managed grouse moors and nature conservation areas.

Articles

Gough, H.C. (2002). Lochmaea suturalis (Thomson), the Heather Beetle, swarming. The Coleopterist 11(1): 28.

Distribution (may take a minute to appear)