Marseulia dilativentris Reiche
Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae.
Common name: Cereal leaf beetle.
Geographical distribution: Middle East.
Morphology: The elytra are shorter than the body, which is about 2-3 mm long, blue-to-lilac in color, hindwings absent. Antennae long, curling.
Host plants: Cultivated cereals.
Life cycle: The females lay eggs (about 50/female) in soil cracks during late winter and spring. The larvae spend the summer in dormancy in the soil, resuming development after the first rains. Adults appear some weeks later to feed on cereals, such as wheat, barley and oats. They live for several weeks, all stages requiring high humidifies for survival and development.
Economic importance: The beetles, which may occur in large numbers, feed on cereal leaves and sometimes cause yellow patches in fields; such damage is very detrimental to young plants. Substantial rains may help partially-damaged plants to recover, but they ripen later then undamaged crops.
Horticultural methods: Plowing during summer can kill the dormant larvae by exposing them to desiccation. Another option is crop rotation, growing non-cereal crops between cereals.
Chemical control: Treatments with neonicotinoids or imidacloprid are recommended.
Giladi, Y., Naftaliyahu, U. and Richker, E. 2013. Wheat and fodder cultivation for seeds and fodder. Nir VaTelem 44: 14 (in Hebrew).