Home / Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae) / Striped Cucumber Beetle (Acalymma vittatum)

Striped Cucumber Beetle (Acalymma vittatum)

The striped cucumber beetle is a member of the family of leaf beetles. It is a major agricultural pest to cucurbit plants in both its larval and adult stages. Danish zoologist Johann Christian Fabricius first described the species in 1775.

Striped Cucumber Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Chrysomelidae
  • Genus: Acalymma
  • Scientific name: Acalymma vittatum

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 5.25 mm long; 1.3 mm wide

Color: Its head is either brown or black, the abdomen is black, the prothorax is yellow. The most prominent coloration is its brownish-yellow elytra covering the whole abdomen, intersected by three black lines running longitudinally.

Other Characteristic Features: They have a striped appearance, alongcol3 slender, long antennae.

Acalymma vittatum

Larva

They look like slender white worms with dark heads. They are 1.3 mm in length in the first instar, reaching almost 1 cm by the final stage. The total development period is around 2-4 weeks.

Striped Cucumber Beetle Larvae

Pupa

Pupae are white and 8-10 mm long. They appear broad towards the anterior part of their body, tapering out into a narrow shape at the posterior end.

Egg

The eggs are orange, oval-shaped, and have a textured surface.  They are 0.60 mm long x 0.36 mm wide, with a total 5-9 days incubation period.

Striped Cucumber Beetle Eggs

Quick Facts

Lifespan8 weeks
DistributionThe Rocky Mountains, southern Canada, and northern Mexico
HabitatField borders, hedgerows, and plant remnants
PredatorsSoldier beetles, braconid wasps, ground beetles, and some nematodes
Seasons activeSpring; they undergo diapause to get through winter
Host plantsCucumber, squash, zucchini, gourd, pumpkin, butternut squash
Diet of adultsPollen and foliage from plants like apple, aster, goldenrod, hawthorn, and willow
Striped Cucumber Beetle Damage

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The damage caused by these beetles is observed in the form of defoliation of the host plants. The maximum harm is done when the overwintering beetles emerge.

Did You Know

  • These beetles have co-opted the natural defenses of the cucurbit plant – a bitter taste – and absorb the chemicals produced by it to give its body color.
  • It has a striking similarity with the western corn rootworm though the two differ in several aspects like their color. For instance, the striped cucumber beetle has a black ventral abdominal surface, while in the latter yellow. Moreover, their elytra do not extend up to the entire length of the abdomen, unlike the striped cucumber.
Striped Cucumber Beetle Picture

Image Source: extension.usu.edu, bugguide.net, entnemdept.ufl.edu, freemygreenpdx.com, ag.umass.edu, whygoodnature.com

The striped cucumber beetle is a member of the family of leaf beetles. It is a major agricultural pest to cucurbit plants in both its larval and adult stages. Danish zoologist Johann Christian Fabricius first described the species in 1775.

Striped Cucumber Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 5.25 mm long; 1.3 mm wide

Color: Its head is either brown or black, the abdomen is black, the prothorax is yellow. The most prominent coloration is its brownish-yellow elytra covering the whole abdomen, intersected by three black lines running longitudinally.

Other Characteristic Features: They have a striped appearance, alongcol3 slender, long antennae.

Acalymma vittatum

Larva

They look like slender white worms with dark heads. They are 1.3 mm in length in the first instar, reaching almost 1 cm by the final stage. The total development period is around 2-4 weeks.

Striped Cucumber Beetle Larvae

Pupa

Pupae are white and 8-10 mm long. They appear broad towards the anterior part of their body, tapering out into a narrow shape at the posterior end.

Egg

The eggs are orange, oval-shaped, and have a textured surface.  They are 0.60 mm long x 0.36 mm wide, with a total 5-9 days incubation period.

Striped Cucumber Beetle Eggs

Quick Facts

Lifespan8 weeks
DistributionThe Rocky Mountains, southern Canada, and northern Mexico
HabitatField borders, hedgerows, and plant remnants
PredatorsSoldier beetles, braconid wasps, ground beetles, and some nematodes
Seasons activeSpring; they undergo diapause to get through winter
Host plantsCucumber, squash, zucchini, gourd, pumpkin, butternut squash
Diet of adultsPollen and foliage from plants like apple, aster, goldenrod, hawthorn, and willow
Striped Cucumber Beetle Damage

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

The damage caused by these beetles is observed in the form of defoliation of the host plants. The maximum harm is done when the overwintering beetles emerge.

Did You Know

  • These beetles have co-opted the natural defenses of the cucurbit plant – a bitter taste – and absorb the chemicals produced by it to give its body color.
  • It has a striking similarity with the western corn rootworm though the two differ in several aspects like their color. For instance, the striped cucumber beetle has a black ventral abdominal surface, while in the latter yellow. Moreover, their elytra do not extend up to the entire length of the abdomen, unlike the striped cucumber.
Striped Cucumber Beetle Picture

Image Source: extension.usu.edu, bugguide.net, entnemdept.ufl.edu, freemygreenpdx.com, ag.umass.edu, whygoodnature.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.