Newly Discovered Leaf Beetles Make Leaf Hole Shelters Using Their Own Feces

Posted on September 27, 2013

Orthaltica terminalia

Two new species of leaf beetles have been discovered in the jungles of the Western Ghats Mountains in India. The tiny beetles are about the size of a pinhead. The beetles make what scientist call "leaf hole shelters." They modify and use as shelter the holes in leaves of their host plants first created by other beetles. The beetles modify the size of the hole by partitioning it with a wall constructed from their own fecal pellets.

The new species of beetles, Orthaltica eugenia and Orthaltica terminalia, are named after their host trees. An image of Orthaltica terminalia is pictured above. A paper about the new beetles was published here in ZooKeys.

Orthaltica terminalia leaf hole shelter

Photos: Alexander S. Konstantinov (top) / Kaniyarikkal Divakaran Prathapan (bottom)

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