Home / Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae) / Red-headed Flea Beetle (Systena frontalis)

Red-headed Flea Beetle (Systena frontalis)

The red-headed flea beetle is a member of the family of leaf beetles. It is easily recognizable from the contrasting colors of its head and body. Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius first described this species in 1801.  

Red Headed Flea Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Chrysomelidae
  • Genus: Systena
  • Scientific name: Systena frontalis

Physical Description and Identification

Adult 

Size: 2.5 – 6.35 mm

Color: They are shiny black with a red head.

Other Characteristic Features: Their antennae are half as long as their bodies. They have powerful large hind legs that allow them to jump like fleas, giving them their name.

Systena frontalis

Larva

They are off-white with a brown head and around 5-10 mm in length. These beetles even have a hardened head capsule and a cylindrical body covered with fine hairs ending in a fleshy projection on the last segment. 

Red-headed Flea Beetle Larva

Pupa

After maturing, the larva starts pupating, though concrete details about the pupal phase have not been mentioned.

Egg

These are pale-yellow, oval-shaped, and 0.7-0.9 mm long, with a rough surface.

Quick Facts

LifespanNot recorded
DistributionNorth America
HabitatFields, gardens, nurseries
Seasons activeJuly
Host plantsCranberry, azalea, dogwood, common ironweed, crape myrtle, Japanese holly, wax myrtle, pigweed, tickseed, chrysanthemum, aster, goldenrod, and rose
Diet of adultsSame as host plants
Red Headed Flea Beetle Damage

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

These beetles can perforate through the upper and lower surfaces of thick leaves of ornamental plants, leaving behind massive holes.

Did You Know

  • Ordinarily capable of producing a single generation a year under natural conditions, they can have up to four generations annually in nurseries and other container-produced plants. 
Red Headed Flea Beetle Picture

Image Source: bugguide.net, a4.pbase.com, jpeg;base64, plant-pest-advisory.rutgers.edu,

The red-headed flea beetle is a member of the family of leaf beetles. It is easily recognizable from the contrasting colors of its head and body. Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius first described this species in 1801.  

Red Headed Flea Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult 

Size: 2.5 – 6.35 mm

Color: They are shiny black with a red head.

Other Characteristic Features: Their antennae are half as long as their bodies. They have powerful large hind legs that allow them to jump like fleas, giving them their name.

Systena frontalis

Larva

They are off-white with a brown head and around 5-10 mm in length. These beetles even have a hardened head capsule and a cylindrical body covered with fine hairs ending in a fleshy projection on the last segment. 

Red-headed Flea Beetle Larva

Pupa

After maturing, the larva starts pupating, though concrete details about the pupal phase have not been mentioned.

Egg

These are pale-yellow, oval-shaped, and 0.7-0.9 mm long, with a rough surface.

Quick Facts

LifespanNot recorded
DistributionNorth America
HabitatFields, gardens, nurseries
Seasons activeJuly
Host plantsCranberry, azalea, dogwood, common ironweed, crape myrtle, Japanese holly, wax myrtle, pigweed, tickseed, chrysanthemum, aster, goldenrod, and rose
Diet of adultsSame as host plants
Red Headed Flea Beetle Damage

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

These beetles can perforate through the upper and lower surfaces of thick leaves of ornamental plants, leaving behind massive holes.

Did You Know

  • Ordinarily capable of producing a single generation a year under natural conditions, they can have up to four generations annually in nurseries and other container-produced plants. 
Red Headed Flea Beetle Picture

Image Source: bugguide.net, a4.pbase.com, jpeg;base64, plant-pest-advisory.rutgers.edu,

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