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[All pictures of garden wildlife on this page are thumbnails. Click on any thumbnail for a large format to be displayed.]

Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)

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Leptinotarsa decemlineata Leptinotarsa decemlineata Colorado Potato Beetle

The most dreaded leaf beetle probably is the Colorado Potato Beetle.It is also called Colorado Beetle and is capable of destroying complete potato crops. Colorado Beetle is able to do it mainly thanks to its ability to multiply dazzlingly fast: three weeks after being laid, an egg goes through all stages of beetle life auntil it becomes an adult that capable of laying eggs again. And each female will lay some 500 eggs! However, this once was a rare beetle. It used to live in a small part of the State of Colorado. It used only a small amount of food plants (nightshades only) and was considered a rarity by coleoptorists. But then the potato arrived and it is a member of the nightshade family of plants. The Colorado Potato Beetle quickly adapted himself to eating potatoes and soon the instect became so abundant that it destroyed potato crops all over the US. By the mid-1800's it was imported to Europe, where it soon became as destructive as it used to be in the USA. A variety of pesticides were being used to kill the animal, but usually in vain, for the animal quickly immunized itself to most chemical substances.

Leptinotarsa decemlineata Leptinotarsa decemlineata Colorado Potato Beetle

The best note about this beetle I have read is: 'the Colorado Potato Beetle is a beetle still mad at us for eating his potatoes'. The animal does not really look like most other leaf beetles but rather like a large Lady Beetle. It suddenly turned up in my garden in the summer of 2004 and 2006.

Leptinotarsa decemlineata Leptinotarsa decemlineata

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