Like other beetles, leaf beetles have shell-like wing covers (elytra) that meet in a straight line over their abdomen. Leaf beetles are a large and diverse group. They are oval or round. Antennae are usually no more than half the length of the body. The eyes lack notches. Although some are drab browns and blacks, many are brightly colored with striped, spotted, or blotched patterns, and some are shiny gold, silver, or other metallic colors.
The larvae are segmented worms or grubs, with an amazing variety of forms. Some, like the Colorado potato beetle larva, are pudgy grubs. Others, like the larvae of tortoise beetles, have spines or hide beneath a roof made of excrement or other debris. Some have two “tails” at the hind end. Some look like early-stage butterfly caterpillars or lady beetle larvae.
Similar species: There is a mind-boggling array of beetle species, and chrysomelids are just one of the large families of beetles.