Flea Beetle
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Pictorial Key
Family: Chrysomelidae
Subfamily: Alticinae
Genus: Blepharida
Species: Rhois
Size: 6mm-11mm
Threadlike Antennae
The Chrysomelidae Family is the fourth largest in North America with 175 genera and 1474 species. Individual species are very diverse within each subfamily and even moreso within the family.  Antennae are threadlike mostly and less than half of the body length (a characteristic that distinguishes many leaf beetles from long horned beetles). The tarsi appear 4-4-4, but in actuality are 5-5-5.

The Chrysomelid photographed here is a flea beetle, named so due to its jumping ability. The jumping ability is a result of an enlarged, muscular hind femor. Alticinae is the largest subfamily of leaf beetles in North America with 370 species ranging from 1-8.5 mm. Adults feed on foliage and chew distinctive holes in leaves that appear like a small bullet hole.

The genus Blepharida has only one species, rhois. It is one of the largest flea beetles and resembles very closely broad bodied leaf beetles. It is distinguishable from the broad bodied leaf beetles by its large hind femor, pointed out in the photo above. Generally found on sumac, these beetles are not pests.

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