T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Beetle (Bronze) Eucolaspis brunnea

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Superfamily: Chrysomeloidea
Family: Chrysomelidae
Subfamily: Eumolpinae
Genus: Eucolaspis
Species: E. brunnea
Binominal nameEucolaspis brunnea
Common name: Bronze beetle

Eucolaspis brunnea is small 3 mm beetle that is a member of the leaf beetles (Family Chrysomelidae). It is a native beetle that lives throughout New Zealand. They feed on the foliage of a wide range of plants including native and exotic broad-leaved and coniferous trees. They are a significant pest in organic apple orchards and in other gardens. They eat the foliage of the host plants. Many plants that suffer from the feeding, include strawberries, boysenberries raspberries, roses. They are very destructive as they eat all new shoots and flower buds. 
Historically the bronze beetle has been a major apple pest, it reached plague proportions during the 1920s and 1930s defoliating many trees. ‘The use of organochlorine insecticides resulted in bronze beetle becoming rare in apple orchards’. (Clearwater & Richards 1984). Though Eucolaspis brunnea is thought to be the species that causes the most damage there are at least another 20 other small leaf beetles that attack many plant species. Identification of species is difficult.

Eucolaspis brunnea is a small, oval, shiny, bronze beetle 3 to 5 mm long and about 4 mm wide. There are two prominent, widely spaced black eyes. The antennae, each have 11 jointed segments, are about as long as the wing cases. The wing cases are pitted.
The female Eucolaspis brunnea lays her eggs in the soil. The larvae live in the soil and feed on the small roots of grasses. They are brown and about 5 mm long and about 2 mm wide. The head is a light yellow/brown and the body is white. They have short legs.
The adults The adult are active from October to March. The beetles if disturbed will jump off the host plant, and for this reason, are sometimes called "flea”.

A tiny 3 mm leaf beetle on a finger 

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information  http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/