1. Clip cages have been used widely by experimental ecologists to contain insects on plants. 2. Under controlled conditions, the effect of applying clip cages alone and clip cages and the chrysomelid beetle Gastrophysa viridula on systemic leaf expansion of Rumex obtusifolius was investigated. Treatments were applied to the fully expanded fourth leaf and expansion of leaf 8 was measured over a period of 22 days. 3. The application of clip cages reduced the rate at which leaf area increased and led to reductions in final leaf areas. 4. Clip cages have systemic effects on plant development and these effects are sustained even after the clip cage is removed. Investigators should take this into account in designing experiments.