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False (not Colorado) Potato Beetle - Leptinotarsa juncta

False (not Colorado) Potato Beetle - Leptinotarsa juncta
Jim Thorpe, PA 18229, Carbon County, Pennsylvania, USA
October 9, 2005
It's playing dead!!! It stayed like this for sometime (twitching once in a while) after I picked it up-then eventually rolled over and walked away.

Sort of reminded me of how opossums and Hognose snakes act.


Picture is definitely Leptinotarsa juncta
See comment below.

Maybe not
I haven't seen any L. decemlineata with a red or brown stripe inside a black stripe like this one has, nor have I found the species to be great 'possum players. Could this be a different species similarly marked to fool predators? (I think L. decimlineata loads up on plant toxins for defense and would therefore be a useful model for a mimic.) Was it by any chance on a potato or nightshade plant? That would augur well for L. decimlineata, strange markings notwithstanding.

It was feeding on
It was feeding on Nightshade, and and potato vines. IDed it by a book I have. I've seen slightly different markings on several of these I have found-but they were all feeding on the same nasty plants, and nearly all exhibited this odd behavior.

They will not eat any other plants-I tried-I raised a few larvae and this is what I got. They seem quite common because we have alot of nightshade here. ALOT!! LOL!

Hope this is helpful.


The unusual markings may be just a regional variation then. I've seen lots of these in New Hampshire, but they've all had the characteristic black and pale yellow striping, as have all images from the Web I've seen -- till now ;-)

regional I agree
of all the photos here-none really are marked exactly the same is the ones here-but the head area marking is the same. As with so many animals I'm sure there are different color strains

Jeez a good example-is snake species I'm VERY familiar with-the eastern hognose -so much variation in color yet they are the same species. It has nothing to do with region either-just using it as an example.

take a look:


Not variation, a different species.
This is not a Colorado potato beetle, but a similar species, Leptinotarsa juncta. Leptinotarsa is surprisingly speciose. Out here in Arizona we have a species that looks like a Calligrapha, and another that is entirely metallic blue!

Then the Guide photos in the
Then the Guide photos in the book is wrong-right? Hmmmm. The one in the books exactly like this one. Same family? same feeding habits?

I can scan the guide if you like-so you can tell me it's wrong and I can make a note in the book-I do things like that-LOL!

tell me more.


Google or bugguide images confirm
To see bugguide images, click here. Or you can enter Leptinotarsa juncta in the google search box and click Images and Search.

I did enter noth on goodle and got this
nslated it into english BTW.

and I've seen these :

or better this:

what does the Leptinotarsa juncta larvae look like?



and photos of larvae here?
I'd like to compare th ose as well, I have photos of the larvae of this beetle.



Couldn't find
any pix online of the larvae. It seems pretty clear though, that it's Leptinotarsa juncta. Are you waiting to view larval images before moving this image to L. juncta guide page?

It would be nice to move both
It would be nice to move both at the same time. If we can figureout which is which. I posted all the larvae photos.


Is L. decemlineata in your area?
If all of the Leptinotarsae in your area look the same, then you could safely assume the larvae are L. juncta. There *are* larval shots of decemlineata to be seen in a google image search. Do yours differ from those?

What an example of variation! I used to be a herper many years back in California, so I can appreciate your passion.

where I found my photo for ID
Nat. Audubon Society field Guide to Insects and Spiders photo #243

and yeah happened to be a "fan" of Hognose Snakes-I've been studying the best ways to keep them-especially Easterns-they can be the toughest. ^_^ The seem to be the most variable in colour too-another great quality. !

Jo ^_^

Leptinotarsa juncta in the picture
We rear both of these species. The Audubon Society Field Guide picture is in error, and I have attempted to get them to correct it, without success. L. juncta, the false potato beetle, cannot complete its development on potato, but insteads feeds on horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) and can be a minor pest of eggplant. The chestnut to black-colored second-to-outermost stripe is diagnostic and different from Colorado potato beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decemlineata. See the U.Florida webpage entry by Jacques for drawings comparing the two.
Interesting about playing dead, the two species do it differently. CPB *never* plays dead this way, but rather, draws all legs into the body.

I guess in that case-it shoul
I guess in that case-it should be moved to a different page.

But I'm still not sure how to do that and keep all the comments.


The comments travel with the image.
Just click Tag, then copy Leptinotarsa juncta and paste it in the search field and click Search. When you see the active link Leptinotarsa juncta,, click on it, then click the Images tab. You'll see an active link that says Move Tagged Images. Click on that link and you're done.

Thanks I managed to figure it
Thanks I managed to figure it out-thanks to your instructions-took me a few tries. ^_^


I edited your title
which originally said Colorado Potato Beetle - too misleading, I think, since this one has now been definitely identified as False Potato Beetle - but without it the first comments on the image made no sense, so I hope the compromise I settled on is acceptable.

okay - no problem-actually I
okay - no problem-actually I thought it had been changed already-sorry I didn't notice that.

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