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Green Dock Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
Green Dock Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula


Green Dock Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
The Green Dock Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula (synonym: Gastroidea viridula) belong to the genus Gastrophysa, in the order beetles (Coleoptera), the suborder Polyphaga, the infraorder Cucujiformia, the superfamily Chrysomeloidea, and the family leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae). Subspecies of this species are: Gastrophysa viridula pennina and Gastrophysa viridula viridula. Gastrophysa viridula were still confined to the alpine areas in Central Europe until the beginning of the 20th Century, but are now widespread and commonly encountered from Europe to western Siberia and in the Caucasus. This species reproduces 2-4 times a year, depending on environmental conditions. It is not considered at risk.
Gastroidea viridula
Gastroidea viridula
The males are around 4 mm in length, while the females are slightly larger, at around 7mm. The males have the typical leaf beetle shape. Females have a very enlarged abdomen just before they lay their eggs. Both sexes have a metallic sheen and are usually predominantly green. However, depending on the light, they can shimmer gold green, blue, red, purple or violet. The eyes are at the front and sides of the head, which is clearly separated from the pronotum and the abdomen. The antennae are of an average length and are serrated. Gastrophysa viridula have sturdy legs with a greenish sheen.
Green Dock Beetle - Side view
Green Dock Beetle - Side view
These beetles are diurnal and have a life expectancy of 1-2 months (females about 35 days) and live in heathlands, forests, forest edges, meadows and gardens. In terms of environment, what is important for these beetles is the presence of the plant dock (Rumex) which they eat. The adult beetles seldom fly but they move considerable distances on foot. They are active from March to October. The overwintering beetles from last year first appear in late March/early April after terminating diapause.
Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
Gastrophysa viridula feed exclusively on plants, preferably dock or green sorrel; when these are in short supply they will eat plants from the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae), cabbage family (Brassicaceae), violet family (Violaceae) or borage Family (Boraginaceae). However complete development of the larvae is not possible on all of these alternative food plants.
Green Dock Beetle - Front view
Green Dock Beetle - Front view
The mating season of the beetles is from spring to autumn and begins with copulation among the autumn generation of beetles from the previous year, which happens immediately after its release in March / April. Egg laying takes place in several sessions on the food plants of the larvae. The females attach each of the 100 to 600 oval, light to egg yolkyellow coloured eggs to the underside of leaves, in batches of 20-45. In its entire life cycle a female produces about 1,200 eggs.
Leaf beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
Leaf beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
The larvae complete the first larval stage inside the egg and hatch after about 3 to 6 days. At this time the eggs are orange in colour. The body of the larva is segmented and reaches a length of around 8 mm. It is either dirty greenish , grey to dark grey or dark brown in colour, and has a dimpled surface. The diet of the larvae is the same as the adults. If the plant they are on is disturbed while they are feeding, the larvae fall to the ground. Often, they are not able to find their way back to the food plants and run the risk of starvation.
Chrysomelidae - Green Dock Beetle
Chrysomelidae - Green Dock Beetle
Mature larvae are able to secrete a substance which drives away their competitors ,especially adult beetles of the same species, from the leaves of the forage plants. At the end of the third larval stage, the larvae dig down into the soil to a depth of about 2cm and pupate. After 6-9 days the adult beetles hatch from their pupae. They have a flight radius of about 10 metres. In late autumn they begin eating intensively and continue this over a period of a few days in preparation for the winter. When the beetles have consumed enough nutrients, they bury themselves in the soil close to the food plant at a depth of several centimetres and remain there until late March or early April. Among the natural enemies of Gastrophysa viridula are insectivores and parasites.
Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. Green Dock Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
2. Gastroidea viridula
3. Green Dock Beetle - Side view
4. Beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
5. Green Dock Beetle - Front view
6. Leaf beetle - Gastrophysa viridula
7. Chrysomelidae - Green Dock Beetle
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