Coconut Leaf Beetle

Brontispa longissima

Published by: Asia – Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network

Leaf BeetleScientific name: Brontispa longissima (Gestro)

Synonyms: Brontispa castanea, B. froggatti, B. longissima var. Javana, B. reicherti, B. longissima var. selebensis, B. simmondsi, Oxycephala longipennis, O. longissima

Common names: Coconut hispine beetle. Coconut leaf hispid, Coconut leaf beetle, Palm leaf beetle

Taxonomic position: Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Hexapoda, Order: Coleoptera Family: Chrysomelidae

Introduction: The coconut leaf beetle (Brontispa longissima) is one of the most damaging pests of coconut and other palms. The larvae and adults of the beetle feed on the soft tissues of the youngest leaf in the throat of the palm. Affected leaves dry up, resulting in stunting of the palm and reduced nut production. Prolonged attacks on young palms can lead to their death.

Hosts: The beetle attacks more than 20 palm species with coconut (Cocos nucifera) being the most favored host. Other hosts include Royal palm (Roystonea sp.), Alexandra palm (Archontophoenix alexandrae), Sago palm (Metroxylon sagu), California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera), Mexican fan palm (W. robusta), Bottle palm (Hyophorbe lagenicaulis), Chinese fan palm (Livistonia chinensis), Madagascar palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) and Areca nut palm (Areca catechu).

Distribution: The leaf beetle is a native of Indonesia (i.e. Aru Islands, Maluku Province, Papua Province) and Papua New Guinea, including the Bismarck Archipelago. It is currently distributed in Australia (Darwin, Broome, Moa Island, Cooktown, Cairns, Innisfail, Marcoola and Townsville), many Pacific Islands, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, the Maldives, Philippines, Myanmar and China (Hainan, Guangdong and Taiwan provinces, with Hainan Islands, the worst affected).

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