Thursday, December 4, 2014

Warty leaf beetle

It is not uncommon for some larvae in several species of the leaf beetles to use their own excrement to form protective shields or coverings, but the warty leaf beetle’s larvae (Exema canadensis) take this habit to the extreme. The warty leaf beetle’s eggs hatch underneath a fecal blanket which their mother has provided for them and then the larvae proceed to use their own waste to further develop a case which they continue to add to as they grow. You may think that this practice is unpleasant; however, this casing serves a very important function. Warty leaf beetles are able to avoid observation and detection from predators due to the fact that their specialized casing resembles caterpillar frass (caterpillar poop).

Warty leaf beetle species are typically very host plant-specific and most species primarily use only a small group of related plant species or even a single species to feed and live on.

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