Leaf beetle

Fast Facts

Latin name: Chrysolina intermedia

Notable feature: A black beetle with red margins along the outer edge of each wing case (the elytra)

Conservation Status: Endangered

Where in the UK: Found on Orkney and Shetland

Leaf beetle (Chrysolina intermedia) © Rachel Cartwright


The Leaf Beetle (Chrysolina intermedia) is a medium-sized native beetle, only found in Scotland in the UK.  Plantain Leaf Beetle has previously been used as a common name for this species as a result of one of its chosen food plants.

The Leaf Beetle’s wing cases (elytra) are black in colour and coarsely punctured, there are distinctive red margins along the outer edge of each. The very front edge of the pronotum (between the eyes) is straight or slightly convex, compared with the very similar and equally rare Chrysolina sanguinolenta (whose pronotum is concave).

  • Size: 7-11mm in length
  • Life span:  Approximately 1 year
  • Diet: Adult Leaf Beetle’s and larvae have been recorded feeding on species of Plantain, Toadflax (Linaria species), Ivy-leaved Toadflax and Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus).
  • Reproduction: Over-winter as adults hiding within the base of plants and coming out to feed on warm sunny days. Adult females lay eggs from March to June. Larvae are generally evident from about mid-March to June.
  • When to see: Adults have been recorded in most months of the year from January to September.
  • Population Trend: Declining – the Leaf Beetle is classed as Nationally Rare within Great Britain and Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • Threats: Loss of habitat and over-grazing – they are usually found in cliff-top grasslands.
  • Fun Fact:  Leaf Beetles are one of the largest groups of beetles, with tens of thousands of species worldwide and around 280 in the UK. Many species of Leaf Beetle feed on specific species of plant.  This fascinating group of beetles include a few with leaf mining larvae.

How you can help: 

Buglife is working to increase awareness of invertebrates and this Leaf Beetle through specific projects, such as Species on the Edge, and campaigns, but we need your help!

Join a recording scheme and log your finds – send any records/sightings to the Chrysomelidae Recording Scheme or download the iRecord app and get recording!

Do remember that we rely on donations to continue our work.  If you have searched, found and learnt about our incredible invertebrates on our website, please do consider Making a Donation, Becoming a Member or maybe even making a purchase in our shop.  For more ideas on how to support our work find out how to Get Involved.  Thank you 🕷