dogbane beetle

(Chrysochus auratus)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not yet assessed

dogbane beetle


NNR - Unranked


not listed




Early summer to fall


Anywhere the host plants are found


Total Length: 5 16to 7 16

          Photo by Dan W. Andree


The body is oval-shaped, strongly convex, bluish-green, and shiny.

The hardened wing covers (elytra) have a coppery, brassy, or bluish sheen.

The head and thorax are bright metallic green and shiny. The antennae are thread-like, bluish-black, and widely separated at the base. They have 12 segments and are less than half as long as the body..

The legs are bluish-black. The part of the leg that corresponds to a foot (tarsus) has five segments, but appears to have only four because the fourth segment is very small.

The larvae are called rootworms. They have a white body and brown head.



Larval Food

Roots of mostly Indian hemp and spreading dogbane; occasionally milkweed

Adult Food

Leaves of mostly Indian hemp and spreading dogbane; occasionally milkweed

Life Cycle

Masses of yellow eggs are laid in the summer on the ground or on leaves and stems of the host plant. When the eggs hatch, the larvae drop to the ground and burrow into the soil, where they feed on the roots of the same plant. They pupate in the soil and emerge the following early summer as adults.


When disturbed, it drops to the ground and attempts to hide in the leaf litter. If handled, it may exude a foul-smelling secretion.

Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 27, 29, 30.





Coleoptera (beetles)



Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf and snout beetles)






Chrysomeloidea (long-horned and leaf beetles)



Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles)



Eumolpinae (oval leaf beetles)







dogbane beetle

dogbane leaf beetle









The hardened forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs.



The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.








Visitor Photos

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Dan W. Andree

Cool little beetles. They can turn several different shades of metallic colors depending on the day lighting and surroundings. I have even seen them with metallic reds on them.

  dogbane beetle    

Dogbane beetle in hand

  dogbane beetle    







  Dogbane Beetle (Chrysochus auratus)
Andree Reno Sanborn
  Dogbane Beetle (Chrysochus auratus)  




Visitor Videos

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  "The Dogbane Beetle" Nature Music Video
Dan W. Andree

Published on Sep 17, 2016

I came across this colorful little beetle for the first time late this summer. The Dogbane is small metallic colored beetle not that much bigger than a ladybug. It averages 3/8 to 1/2 inch in size. I found them to be interesting, harmless - even what appeared to be napping at times and quite colorful. Filmed from Aug. 15th to Sept. 3rd - 2016. Background music added.


Other Videos

  Dogbane beetle cleans latex sap from mouth
Bug of the Week

Published on Jul 18, 2016

When the goop is just too much to handle, a backward stroll helps the dogbane beetle to rid its mouthparts of sticky latex.

  Dogbane Leaf Beetle
Jacob Kramer

Published on Aug 13, 2013

The Dogbane Leaf beetles' iridescence is produced by special body structures and light. The surface of the body parts of this beetle is made up of stacks of tiny, slanting plates, under which is a pigment (substance that produces color). Some light rays reflect from the surface of the plates, and other light rays reflect from the pigment underneath. At different angles, the light reflects at different speeds, causing interference and resulting in our seeing different colors that shine.

The dogbane leaf beetle is a small (8-11 mm.), oblong, shiny insect that displays blue, gold, green, and coppery colors. Its underside is bluish-green. It has wide-set atennae with eleven segments. The larva is white with a brown head. It feeds on roots and leaves of dogbane and other milkweed plants.

  Dogbane Leaf Beetle Nature Walks with Mark Fraser

Published on Feb 7, 2010

I am often amazed at the incredible colors that can be found within nature. Some species are actually colored in a jaw - dropping metallic iridescence. One of the best examples of that, has to be the Dogbane Leaf Beetle seen on this film! Like their names sake, they spend most of their entire lives feeding on the Dogbane and also on the milkweed plant. They will lay their eggs at the base of the host plant, and when the larvae hatch they will burrow in the soil feeding on the roots. As they reach their adult stage, they spend their lives feeding on the greenery in a world of beautiful iridescent beetles! There are many possible uses for their breathtaking coloration, the one I think is the most intriguing is communication. As they move about the metallic iridescent colors will change from glowing greens to reds and even bronze. They are another great example of the beauty of the natural world and truly amazing to admire. I'm Mark Fraser and to read up on more exciting adventures studying our incredible wild neighbors join me at





Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this insect.

Dan W. Andree

Location: Clay County

Cool little beetles.  They can turn several different shades of metallic colors depending on the day lighting and surroundings.  I have even seen them with metallic reds on them.  

dogbane beetle

Dan W. Andree

Location: Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Dogbanes are small metallic like beetles that mainly feed on dogbane plants. They are harmless and a nice little beetle. Adults are about 3/8 to a half inch possibly a fraction larger than half an inch some of the bigger adults but are small.

dogbane beetle







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