Colaphus sophiae (Schall.) - West Mustard Beetle

Systematic position.

Class Insecta, order Coleoptera, family Chrysomelidae, genus Colaphus. C. sophiae includes subspecies C. s. transsylvanicus Machat. and C. s. amasiae Machat. It differs from the C. hoefti Men. in color of the femora, which are entirely darkened.


Chrysomela sophiae Schall.; Chrysomela erythropus Gmel. An aberration is known: C. sophiae ab. bicolor Rnck.

Biological group.

Pest of cruciferous crops: mustard, turnip, cabbage, rape, horseradish, radish.

Morphology and biology.

Body length is 3.8-5.8 mm. Body convex, blue or green with metallic shine. 1st-6th antennal segments are light reddish. Pronotum is short and broad, basal margin rounded without bordering. Elytra in posterior third are distinctly narrowed distad to apexes, which are somewhat tapered. Elytral disc with irregular punctation. Tibiae broadened distad, 3rd tarsal segment distinctly emarginated. Femora and basal part of tibiae are dark green, the rest of tibiae and tarsi are light reddish. The 1st transversal row of sclerites on meso- and metanotum and all abdominal tergites consists of 2 sclerites.


Central and Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor. In the former USSR, the species inhabits all territory of the European part westward of Dnepr River valley and northward to Baltic States.


Monovoltine species. Its ecology is very similar to that in C. hoefti (Men.), but C. sophiae is less numerous. It hibernates in adult stage in the surface soil layer. Overwintered beetles appear in April-May and feed mainly on cruciferous weeds (Sisymbrium etc). Female lays batches of 10-20 eggs in soil or on plants. Fertility is about 200-300 eggs. Hatching larvae consume leaves, apical part of stems and inflorescences. Pupation occurs inside a soil cradle at a depth to 5-6 cm. After emergence young beetles usually do not leave the cradles until spring.

Economic significance.

Damages in adult and larval stages. Outbreaks of the pest occur seldom. C. sophiae has no harmfulness in the territory of the former USSR. Control measures include using fertilizations for the acceleration of seedling development, control of weeds and deep autumn plowing. Insecticide treatment is necessary at high adult abundance.

Reference citations:

Bienkowski A. 2004. Leaf-beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) of the Eastern Europe. New Key to subfamilies, genera and species. Moscow: Mikron-Print. 278 p.
Borowiec L. 2008. Colaphus sophiae (Schaller, 1783). Uniwersytet Wroclawski.
Brovdii V.M. 1974. Family Chrysomelidae. In: Vasil.ev V.P., ed. Pests of agricultural crops and forest plantations. V. 2. Arthropods. Kiev: Urozhai, p. 49-88 (in Russian).
Lopatin I.K. & Nesterova O.L. 2005. Insects of Belarus: Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae. Monography. Minsk: Tekhnoprint. 294 p. (in Russian).
Lopatin I.K., Medvedev L.N., Shapiro D.S. 1974. Family Chrysomelidae. In: Kryzhanovskii O.L., ed. Insects and mites . pests of agricultural plants. V. 2. Coleoptera. Leningrad: Nauka, p. 157-197 (in Russian).
Medvedev L.N. &. Shapiro D.S. 1965. Family Chrysomelidae - leaf beetles. In: Bei-Bienko G.Ya., ed. Keys to insects of the European part of the USSR. V. 2. Moscow & Leningrad: Nauka. P. 419-474 (in Russian).
Warchalowski A. 2003. Chrysomelidae. The leaf-beetles of Europe and Mediterranean area. Warszawa, 600 p.

© David'yan G.E.

Picture © Borowiec L.

Web design —
Kelnik studios