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Gastrophysa viridula

Gastrophysa viridula, Author : Szamotl (Source)

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Cladus: Panarthropoda
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Subclassis: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Infraclassis: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Coleopterida
Ordo: Coleoptera
Subordo: Polyphaga
Infraordo: Cucujiformia
Cladus: Phytophaga
Superfamilia: Chrysomeloidea

Familia: Chrysomelidae
Subfamilia: Chrysomelinae
Tribus: Chrysomelini
Subtribus: Chrysomelina
Genus: Gastrophysa
Species: Gastrophysa viridula

Gastrophysa viridula (De Geer, 1775)

Chrysomela viridula De Geer, 1775: 311
Lamprolina unicolor Jacoby, 1885: 225 [syn.: Reid, 2006: 74]

Primary references

Reid, C.A.M. 2006. A taxonomic revision of the Australian Chrysomelinae, with a key to the genera (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Zootaxa 1292: 1–119. Abstract & excerpt. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.1292.1.1 Open access. PDF (partA). PDF (partB). [Erratum: 1306: 68. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.1306.1.6 Paywall.] Reference page.


Global Biodiversity Information Facility. 2019. GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Checklist dataset. Taxon: Gastrophysa viridula. [accessed on 29 June 2020]

Vernacular names
magyar: Sóska-levélbogár

Gastrophysa viridula, known as the green dock beetle (note: the similar Gastrophysa cyanea in North America is also called the green dock beetle), green dock leaf beetle or green sorrel beetle, is a species of beetle native to Europe.


The length of the green dock beetle varies between sexes, with the males being 4 mm and the females being 7 mm. During the mating season, females have enlarged abdomens. Both sexes are green with a metallic shimmer, which, depending on the light, can be gold green, blue, purple, violet, or red. The legs of this species also shimmer a metallic green, and are strongly built. The antennae are serrated and are medium in length.[1]

Gastrophysa viridula pennina (Weise, 1882)
Gastrophysa viridula viridula (De Geer, 1775)

Distribution and habitat

The green dock beetle is commonly found in central Europe, also common and widespread in Britain. Its range extends eastward into western Siberia and the Caucasus Mountains. They are found in heathlands, forests, meadows, and gardens with the presence of plant dock (Rumex), the beetles' food plant.[1]

The green dock beetle feeds mainly on dock and green sorrel, rarely feeding on other plants in the families Polygonaceae, Brassicaceae, Violaceae, and Boraginaceae. The larvae can only completely develop on Rumex species.[1]
Life cycle

The green dock beetle's breeding season is from March to October. There are 2 to 4 broods per year, with the last brood hibernating as an adult. The female lays over 1,000 eggs, laying them in clusters of 20 to 45 on the underside of the food plant's leaves. The eggs are oval in shape, and are cream to yellow, turning orange prior to hatching. After about 3 to 6 days, the larva hatches from the egg. It varies in color from greenish gray to dark brown. Its body is segmented, and will reach a length of 8 mm. Young larvae will drop to the ground if disturbed while feeding, while older larvae secrete a substance which repels competitors from eating the food plant leaves. After three instars, the larva pupates in a burrow about 2 cm underground. The adult emerges 6 to 9 days later.[1]

A multilayer composed of chitin layers alternated with layers which also contain melanin is responsible for the green colouration (this phenomenon is known as structural colour). The development has been investigated using advanced imaging techniques, showing that the multilayer forms during pupation and schlerotisation.[3]


Pepwork GmbH. "Green Dock Beetle — Gastrophysa viridula". Insectoid.Info. Archived from the original on 22 October 2014. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
Reid, C.A.M. (2006). "A taxonomic revision of the Australian Chrysomelinae, with a key to the genera (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)". Zootaxa. 1292: 1–119. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.1292.1.1. (Erratum: doi:10.11646/zootaxa.1306.1.6)
Onelli, Olimpia D.; Kamp, Thomas van de; Skepper, Jeremy N.; Powell, Janet; Rolo, Tomy dos Santos; Baumbach, Tilo; Vignolini, Silvia (2 May 2017). "Development of structural colour in leaf beetles". Scientific Reports. 7 (1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-01496-8. PMC 5430951. PMID 28465577.

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