Psylliodes chrysocephalus (L.) - Cabbage Stem Flea Beetle, Rape Flea Beetle

Systematic position.

Class Insecta, order Coleoptera, family Chrysomelidae, genus Psylliodes. This is a very polymorphous species having a subspecies P. chrysocephalus inops Peyer.


According to Warchalowski (2003) and Borowiec (2008), Chrysomela nigricollis Marsh.; Altica anglicana Gmel.; Haltica cyanoptera Ill.; Haltica nucea Ill., Haltica sophiae Ill.; and P. atlantica Fauv. are synonyms of P. chrysocephalus. The following taxa are treated as variations or aberrations: Chrysomela erythrocephala L.; Macrocnema sordida Steph.; Altica anglica F.; Psylliodes kunzei Foudr.; P. allardi Bach.; P. catinensis Rot.; P. nigricornis Leesbg.; P. chrysocephala var. collaris Wse.; P. chrysocephala var. peregrina Wse.; P. sicardi Wse.; P. longipennis Pic.; P. castanea Abeil.; P. chrysocephala var. angulicollis Hktg.; P. chrysocephala ab. tristicula Csiki.

Biological group.

Pest of cruciferous vegetable crops, rape and mustard, having secondary significance.

Morphology and biology.

Body is 3-4.5 mm in length, egg-shaped, elongated, dark blue or blue-greenish; fore part of the head, antennal base and base of the legs are reddish or yellow-reddish (hind femora and often base of fore and mid femora are black). Frontal furrows are indistinct. Antennae are filiform and 10-segmented. Pronotum without impressions and strokes, uniformly convex on each side, without any angular prominence or only with its trace. Elytra with distinct striae of punctures. Hindtarsus insertion located distinctly before tibial apex. Larva is yellow-whitish; head, pronotum, body sclerites, and 9th abdominal tergite are dark brown; last tergite covered with 12-14 setae. Mature larva is about 7 mm in length. Width of the larval head capsule in 1-3rd instars is 0.25-0.33; 0.36-0.42; 0.49-0.61 mm, respectively.


Europe, Northern Africa, Asia Minor, Afghanistan. In the former USSR, the species inhabits central and southern European territories, the Caucasus, southern part of Western Siberia, Altai, Middle Asia, and Kazakhstan.


Monovoltine species. In nature its habitat is connected with open stations. It is a mesophilous species, in steppe zone preferring damp localities. The species hibernates in adult stage. Overwintered beetles appear in May. They feed by cruciferous weeds at first and later by mustard and vegetable crops. Adult gnaws small oval holes on the leaves. Female lays eggs on the soil and in leaf sheaths of host plants. Fertility is about 100 eggs. Hatching larvae tunnel galleries through stems, petioles. Pupation occurs in the soil within a small earth cradle.

Economic significance.

The pest damages weakly and sporadically. It is most harmful in larval stage on young plants. It slows plant growth; stems and petioles break off. Control measures include using fertilizations for the acceleration of seedling development, removal of plant residues in early spring or after harvesting. Insecticide treatments are necessary at adult high abundance.

Reference citations:

Alford D.V. 1979. Observations on the cabbage stem flea beetle, Psylliodes chrysocephala, on winter oil-seed rape in Cambridgeshire. Annals of applied Biology 93 (2): 117-123.
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. Psylliodes chrysocephalus (Linnaeus, 1758). Wroclaw: 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).
Dubeshko, L.N. & Medvedev, L.N. 1989. Ecology of leaf beetles of Siberia and Far East. Irkutsk: Izd. Irkutskogo universiteta. 224 p. (in Russian).
Kryzhanovskii O.L. 1981. Family Chrysomelidae. In: Kopaneva L.M., ed. Key to harmful and useful insects and mites of industrial crops in the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos. p. 127-138 (in Russian).
Lopatin I.K. & Nesterova O.L. 2005. Insects of Belarus: Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae. Monography. Minsk: Tekhnoprint. 294 p. (in Russian).
Palii V.F. 1961. Fauna of pest flea beetles of the USSR. Frunze: AN Kirgiz.SSR. 101 p. (in Russian).
Warchalowski A. 2003. Chrysomelidae. The leaf-beetles of Europe and Mediterranean area. Warszawa, 600 p.
Williams J.J., Carden P.W. 1961. Cabbage stem flea beetle in East Anglia. Plant pathology 10(3): 85-95.

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