Quick facts

Common name: poplar leaf beetle

Scientific name: Chrysomela populi

Family: Chrysomelidae

Habitat: woodland, hedgerows, parks and gardens

Diet: leaves, particularly poplar and willow

Predators: birds

Origin: native

What do poplar leaf beetles look like?

Adults: are small and rounded with vibrant red wing cases and a black-green body. They grow to about 10mm in length.

Larvae: are small and white, covered in regular black ridges. They have a black head and legs.

What do poplar leaf beetles eat?

The poplar leaf beetle feeds on leaves, with a preference for poplar and willow leaves.

Poplar leaf beetle pupa attached to leaf

Credit: Premaphotos / naturepl.com

How do poplar leaf beetles breed?

Both mating and egg laying takes place on leaves, which serve as food for both the adult and larvae. The larvae of the last generation of the year overwinter in the leaf litter.

Did you know?

Poplar leaf beetles can shoot out a smelly liquid when under threat. It contains salicylic acid from the leaves they eat.

Where do poplar leaf beetles live?

The poplar leaf beetle is found across the UK, though it is less common in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Poplar leaf beetle on leaf

Credit: David Sewell / Alamy Stock Photo

Signs and spotting tips

Look for the poplar leaf beetle between April and October. It’s no surprise that you’re most likely to spot them on poplar leaves in wooded areas.

Threats and conservation

The poplar leaf beetle is widespread and not believed to be threatened in the UK.