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Leptophysa sp. - Systena s-littera

Leafy flea beetles





  • Rather polyphagous insects widely distributed in Central America, South America and the West Indies. They belong to the order Coleoptera and the family Chrysomelidae. Rather anecdotally, we can meet these rootworms on cucurbits.
  • Species observed: Systena s-littera and Leptophysa sp, recognizable by the '' big thighs '' aspect of their hind legs.
  • Mainly found on cabbage and lettuce.
  • Observed in the open field as well as under shelters.


  • Sensitive botanical family (s)
Brassicaceae Composed


  • Affected production areas :
Mayotte Guyana Guadeloupe


  • Organs attacked
Leaves Stems


Symptoms, damage


The damage is usually done by flea beetles Leptophysa on cabbages.

  • Symptoms :
    • Leaves grazed, devoured irregularly on the surface, on the upper surface of the blade ( Systena s-littera - Compositae) (figure 1).
    • Consumed leaves showing more or less wide perforations of the blade (a few millimeters), rather rounded to irregular ( Leptophysa sp.). The leaves appear more or less sifted (figures 2 and 3)
  • Signs : Presence of adult insects on plants and in the crop (Figures 1, 3 and 4).
  • Possible confusion : In the past, the flea beetles Leptophysa spp. were confused with flea beetles of the genus Epitrix




  • Development cycle :
    • Eggs laid on the ground at the foot of plants, isolated or in small groups.
    • Larvae of Systena s-littera feeding on the roots.
    • Adult: Systena s-littera can be identified by the beige '' S '' shaped coloration on its elytra; it measures approximately 4 mm in length. Leptophysa sp. is slightly smaller and completely black.




  • Weed the crop and its surroundings.
  • Produce the seedlings in an nursery insect-proof .
  • Check the sanitary quality of the plants before and during their introduction into the crop or shelter.
  • Install  canvases  insect-proof in the nursery, on the rows in the open field when planting, and at the openings of shelters when weather conditions allow.
  • Mulch the culture to limit the emergence of adults.
  • Reason the  chemical protection that is possible for this use. Remember to respect the conditions of use of phytosanitary products.
  • Treat plants before uprooting in the presence of high pest populations.
Last change : 11/16/21
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Leptophysa sur chou chinois
Figure 5
Figure 6