Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




Regional Maps

Subfamily Criocerinae Latreille, 1807


The subfamily Criocerinae includes 20 genera and approximately 1400 species worldwide (Seeno & Wilcox 1982; Schmitt 1988). The Australian fauna is relatively depauperate, with four genera and 18 native species, occurring throughout the mainland, but absent from Tasmania.

The Criocerinae are a monophyletic subfamily, but their position within Chrysomelidae has been contentious. Morphology indicates relationships with either the sagrine-group or the Cassidinae (Reid 1995, 2000; Schmitt 1996); molecular studies place Criocerinae firmly in the sagrine-group (Gomez-Zurita et al. 2007; Gomez-Zurita et al. 2008).

Most species of Criocerinae feed on monocots and include pests of grasses and orchids, however several species are also significant pests of Solanaceae (Schmitt 1988) and one species is a biocontrol agent of Cirsium (Asteraceae) (Riley, Clark & Seeno 2003). In Australia, species of Oulema feed on grasses, Stethopachys is a significant pest of Orchidaceae (Gough, Bartreau & Montgomery 1994) and Lilioceris species feed on Smilax and Cycadaceae (Monteith 1991; Forster & Machin 1994). There are two accidentally introduced species from the Americas, Lema daturaphila and L. bilineata, feeding on exotic Solanaceae (Kogan & Goeden 1970; Franzmann 1978; Riley, Clark & Seeno 2003; Stevens et al. 2010).

The known Australian species have external larvae that trough leaves and coat themselves in faecally derived slime. Pupation is in polystyrene-like cells in soil or at the base of host stems.

Adult Criocerinae are able to stridulate (Schmitt & Traue 1990) and also possess defensive dorsal secretory glands (Pasteels & Rowell-Rahier 1989).



After Reid (2000). Adult: facial tubercles separated by deep X-shaped groove; mouthparts not ventrally deflexed; ventral surface without densely setose plastron; wing venation reduced, with 0-1 anal region cells; bifid tarsal setae present; sternites 3 & 4 not fused; tergite 7 (pygidium) with stridulatory file; tegmen without dorsal cap.
Larva: freeliving, not enclosed in case; 6 pairs of stemmata; maxillary palpi 3-segmented; labial palpi 1-segmented; first instar without thoracic eggbursters; tibiotarsus with paronychial appendix; abdominal segments with ventral ambulatory ampullae.


General References

Forster, P.I. & Machin, P.J. 1994. Cycad host plants for Lilioceris nigripes (Fabricius) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and Theclinesthes onycha (Hewitson) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Australian Entomologist 21(3): 99-102

Franzmann, B.A. 1978. Discovery of Lema trilineata (Olivier) in Queensland. News Bulletin, Entomological Society of Queensland 6(9): 119-120

Gomez-Zurita, J., Hunt, T., Kopliku, F. & Vogler, A. P. 2007. Recalibrated tree of leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) indicates independent diversification of angiosperms and their host herbivores. PLoS ONE (Public Library of Science) 2(4): 1-8

Gomez-Zurita, J., Hunt, T. & Vogler, A. P. 2008. Multilocus ribosomal RNA phylogeny of the leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae). Cladistics 23: 1-17

Gough, N., Bartreau, T. & Montgomery, B.L. 1994. Distribution, hosts and pest status of the orchid beetle Stethopachys formosa Baly (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Australian Entomologist 21(4): 49-54

Koegen, M. & Goeden, R.D. 1970. The biology of Lema trilineata daturaphila (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), with notes on the efficiency of food utilization by larvae. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 63(2): 537-546

Monteith, G.B. 1991. Corrections to published information on Johannica gemellata (Westwood) and other Chrysomelidae (Coleoptera). Victorian Entomologist 21: 147-154

Pasteels, J.M. & Rowell-Rahier, M. 1989. Defensive glands and secretions as taxonomic tools in the Chrysomelidae. Entomography 6: 423-432

Stevens, M.M., Stanton, R.A., Wu, H., Sampson, B., Weir, T., Reid, C.A.M. & Mo, J. 2010. Detection of Lema bilineata Germar (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in Australia. General and Applied Entomology 39: 1-3 [Date published June]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
23-Mar-2012 23-Mar-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)