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Any member of the beetle subfamily Alticinae (family Chrysomelidae), found worldwide. It is tiny (less than 0.25 in. [6 mm] long) and dark or metallic in colour. The enlarged hind legs are adapted for jumping. Flea beetles are important pests of cultivated plants (e.g., grapes, cucumbers, melons, tobacco, potatoes, and tomatoes). The adults feed on the leaves, the larvae on the roots. Some flea beetles carry plant diseases (e.g., early potato blight).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on flea beetle, visit Britannica.com.