Home / Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae) / False Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa juncta)

False Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa juncta)

False potato beetle of the leaf beetle family inhabits the southeastern United States and the Mid-Atlantic region. One of its primary host plants is potato, which has resulted in its name. Though it seems a close cousin of the Colorado potato beetle, it is not regarded as a harmful pest as the latter.

False Potato Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Chrysomelidae
  • Genus: Leptinotarsa
  • Scientific name: Leptinotarsa juncta

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 9 – 11 mm (0.35 – 0.43 inches)

Color: It is striped in black and white on the back, though one of the white bands is missing replaced with a brown one. It also has a brown pronotum, marked with two distinct black dashes and a few small black dots. They even have orange legs and black and orange antennae.

Other Characteristic Features: Though not much is known about their physical appearance, they have a shiny look and larger stomach.

Leptinotarsa juncta

Larva

The larva has a humped back with a pale white coloration and dark spots on both sides arranged in a single row.

False Potato Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The pupa appears oval with an orangish body taking about 6 days to mature.

Egg

The eggs hatch in approximately 5 days from being laid, feeding on the host plant’s leaves. These pale pink or deep orange eggs are slightly larger than that of the Colorado potato beetle’s, mostly spotted in clusters.

False Potato Beetle Eggs

Quick Facts

Adult lifespanNot recorded
Duration of larval stageAbout 21 days
DistributionEastern parts of US from north Florida up to east Texas, also covering the states of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maine  
HabitatOld fields, orchards, roadsides, pastures, and everywhere else where its host plants grow
Common PredatorsBirds, toads, bugs, lady beetles, ground beetles
Seasons active fromMarch – July
Host PlantsHorse nettle, potatoes, husk tomato, ground cherry, bittersweet
Diet  of larvae and adultsMostly on the leaves of their host plants
False Potato Beetle Picture

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

Like the Colorado potato beetle, the false potato beetles also cause defoliation, with the older larvae responsible for most of the feeding damage caused to the plants.

Did You Know

  • One of the striking differences between the false potato beetle and the Colorado potato beetle is its body color. The latter has five brown stripes against a yellowish-orange body. On the other hand, the former has black and white stripes, with a single brown band sitting right at the center.

Image Source: objects.liquidweb.services, bugguide.net, lh4.ggpht.com, lh3.googleusercontent.com, growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu

False potato beetle of the leaf beetle family inhabits the southeastern United States and the Mid-Atlantic region. One of its primary host plants is potato, which has resulted in its name. Though it seems a close cousin of the Colorado potato beetle, it is not regarded as a harmful pest as the latter.

False Potato Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 9 – 11 mm (0.35 – 0.43 inches)

Color: It is striped in black and white on the back, though one of the white bands is missing replaced with a brown one. It also has a brown pronotum, marked with two distinct black dashes and a few small black dots. They even have orange legs and black and orange antennae.

Other Characteristic Features: Though not much is known about their physical appearance, they have a shiny look and larger stomach.

Leptinotarsa juncta

Larva

The larva has a humped back with a pale white coloration and dark spots on both sides arranged in a single row.

False Potato Beetle Larvae

Pupa

The pupa appears oval with an orangish body taking about 6 days to mature.

Egg

The eggs hatch in approximately 5 days from being laid, feeding on the host plant’s leaves. These pale pink or deep orange eggs are slightly larger than that of the Colorado potato beetle’s, mostly spotted in clusters.

False Potato Beetle Eggs

Quick Facts

Adult lifespanNot recorded
Duration of larval stageAbout 21 days
DistributionEastern parts of US from north Florida up to east Texas, also covering the states of Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maine  
HabitatOld fields, orchards, roadsides, pastures, and everywhere else where its host plants grow
Common PredatorsBirds, toads, bugs, lady beetles, ground beetles
Seasons active fromMarch – July
Host PlantsHorse nettle, potatoes, husk tomato, ground cherry, bittersweet
Diet  of larvae and adultsMostly on the leaves of their host plants
False Potato Beetle Picture

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

Like the Colorado potato beetle, the false potato beetles also cause defoliation, with the older larvae responsible for most of the feeding damage caused to the plants.

Did You Know

  • One of the striking differences between the false potato beetle and the Colorado potato beetle is its body color. The latter has five brown stripes against a yellowish-orange body. On the other hand, the former has black and white stripes, with a single brown band sitting right at the center.

Image Source: objects.liquidweb.services, bugguide.net, lh4.ggpht.com, lh3.googleusercontent.com, growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu

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