Colaspis suilla Fabricius, 1801

Riley, Edward G., 2020, A review of the Colaspis suilla species group, with description of three new species from Florida (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Eumolpinae), Insecta Mundi 2020 (830), pp. 1-21 : 5-7

publication ID

publication LSID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Colaspis suilla Fabricius


Colaspis suilla Fabricius

( Fig. 1–2 View Figures 1–4 , 14–16 View Figures 11–18 , 39 View Figures 33–40 , 42, 47–48, Map 1)

Colaspis suilla Fabricius 1801: 417 ; type locality: ‘Carolina’. Lefèvre 1885: 52 [catalogue]. Blake 1974: 8, fig. 7–9 [redescription, lectotype designation].

Colaspis suilla borealis Blake 1974: 9 , fig. 11; type locality: Toronto , Canada. New Synonymy

Type material. Of C. suilla , male lectotype [Fabricius collection, Copenhagen], designated and figured by Blake (1974), not examined.

Of C. suilla borealis , holotype [ USNM], examined, a male labeled “Toronto Canada [hand-written, black on white] || Type no. 26913 U. S. N. M. [printed and hand-written, black on red] || Holotype Colaspis suilla ssp. borealis Blake [printed and hand-written, red and black on white with red border]. The specimen is point-mounted and was dissected through the abdominal tergites. It is in poor condition, missing various legs and tarsi, with ventral areas mostly obscured by glue. One hind tibia and one antenna are viewable. The shaft of the median lobe is glued to the base of the point with distal portion viewable. The length of the holotype was measured at 3.9 mm, a detail Blake omitted from her original description. Two paratypes at the USNM were also examined.

Remarks. The uniformly developed and narrow primary elytral costae, dark pronotum, flat surface of male ventrite V, shape of the male genitalia, and shape of the spermatheca will distinguish this species. The median lobe in en-face view is unlike other members of the group, having the tip tapered with a relatively long post-orifical length ( Fig. 39 View Figures 33–40 ). The spermatheca is also unique within the group, and appears to be a stable, reliable diagnostic character (Fig. 47–48). The unique spermatheca shape will not only distinguish females of C. suilla from the other members of the C. suilla species group, but also from those females of similar-appearing, co-occurring Colaspis species where the males possess a tubercle on ventrite V.

Most specimens examined from the southeastern states of Georgia and Florida are darker, with the punctate strial areas darkened (as in Fig. 15 View Figures 11–18 ). In specimens from other regions, these intercostal areas are rarely darkened, except usually immediately posterior to the scutellum. Colaspis suilla exhibits considerable variation in size, more so than other Colaspis species occurring in the USA. Blake noted that her specimens from Alabama and North Carolina (both examined) were small, and this is true for some other specimens examined in the present study, with males as small as 3.7 mm. Blake reported the length of the Fabrician lectotype at 3.5 mm, the smallest specimen she examined. Series of specimens from Nebraska and South Dakota show considerable variation in size, with some females up to 5.7 mm and some males as small as 3.7 mm. A male from Schenectady, New York, at 3.7 mm, is also among the smallest specimens observed in this study. The size is more stable in series from Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas. Blake named C. suilla borealis based on specimens from Toronto, Canada, stating that they were somewhat larger and more rotund than those from the Southeast. Given the amount of observed variation in body size, there seems little justification for maintaining a subspecies distinction.

Range. Map 1. This is the only species of the C. suilla species group whose range extends broadly inland from the Atlantic coastal plain. Its range extends as far north as Ontario, Manitoba and Maine, and as far west as North Dakota and Texas. Blake (1974) reported very little locality data for this species, specifically mentioning only Alabama, North Carolina and Ontario. I have seen specimens from Canada: MB, ON; and the United States: AL, FL, GA, IA, IN, IL, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, SD, TX, WI. Ciegler (2007) reported C. suilla from South Carolina, Clark (2000) reported it from Virginia, and Barney et al. (2010) reported it from Kentucky.

Biological notes. The species appears to be uncommonly encountered throughout most of its range, and this seems to be especially true for the southeastern states. In most collections, it is represented by few specimens or singletons. However, it can be locally abundant at times and appears most abundant in the northwestern portion of its range. Habitats with sandy soils or deposits seem to be preferred. I have collected it in fair numbers at locations with sandy soils in Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas. The Louisiana and Texas localities are long-leaf pine communities; the southeastern Missouri locality (Stoddard County) is at Crowley’s Ridge, an area with sand deposits. It is frequently encountered and sometimes abundant in the sandhill areas of western Nebraska and adjacent South Dakota. Some specimens from Wisconsin are labeled “Sandy Urban RR Pr.” [sandy urban railroad prairie], “sand prairie”, and “… sandy oak barrens” .

Plant data from specimen labels indicate multiple associations with legumes ( Fabaceae ): Tephrosia sp. (one specimen, Louisiana), soybean (one specimen, Wisconsin), flower of Chamaecrista fasciculata (Michx.) Greene (two specimens, Florida), Lespedeza hirta (L.) Hornem. (one specimen, Maryland), and “at night on Lespedeza sp. , either L. hirta (L.) Hornem. or L. stuevei Nutt. ” (four specimens, North Carolina). Label data also cite traps in oak savanna (multiple collections, Wisconsin) and from oak (one specimen, Georgia).

Specimens examined. 517 total, see Appendix 1.


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History














Colaspis suilla Fabricius

Riley, Edward G. 2020

Colaspis suilla borealis

Blake DH 1974: 9

Colaspis suilla

Blake DH 1974: 8
Lefevre E. 1885: 52
Fabricius JC 1801: 417