Fecal-Pellet Beetle

Chrysomelidae Cassidinae from Kakamega, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Observed on foliage at Kakamega Forest, Kenya. Oct 2016.

Leaf Beetles chew on the leaves of plants and if numerous can reduce growth rates of plants. As they crawl across a leaf they might be attacked by an insectivorous bird. Because these insects resemble a fecal pellet - one deposited by a Lepidoptera larva - they might be mistaken for an inedible item and thus ignored. A second defense is that these insects can hold onto the leaf surface with incredible strength. They can also drop to the ground where they would blend perfectly with true particles of soil!

Chrysomelidae; Cassidinae -- Leaf Beetle Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 22 Dec. 2016