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Leaf beetles on willows


Three species of leaf beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) are common on willows (Salix spp.) but their densities vary between years, stands and parts of stands. The three species are Phratora vulgatissima, Galerucella lineola and Lochmaea caprea. Here we present information about their basic biology and the damage they cause on willows.

The overall goal with our research is to provide knowledge that can be used to develop methods for controlling the beetles and reduce the risk for high leaf beetle densities. One important reason for having this goal is that willows are grown for producing biomass to be used as a renewable, and environmentally sound, source of energy. Heavy defoliation may reduce biomass production by up to 40%. To better understand the factors affecting leaf beetle density we study their population dynamics in both plantations and natural willow stands. Salix viminalis is the most commonly used species in plantations whereas the natural stands we study consist of S. cinerea.