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Photo#589370
Reddish Potato Beetle, dorsal - Leptinotarsa rubiginosa

Reddish Potato Beetle, dorsal - Leptinotarsa rubiginosa
Sandia Mountains, Bernalillo County, New Mexico, USA
October 9, 2011
Size: 11 mm
Download high resolution image here.

I collected several of these beetles crawling across the path on Embudito Trl. (No. 192) and Embudo Trl. (No. 193) between 6000 and 7000 ft elevation on Oct 2 and 9 of 2011 in the Sandia Mountains, Bernalillo Co., NM. I collected individuals of this species in the Sandias on 20 JUL 1990, 04 Aug 1991, and 05 Jul 1992, but hadn't seen it again until this year. Maps in Jacques 1988(1) and Tower 1906(2) suggest that the Sandia's are somewhat north of its historical range.

Note in the ventral view the yellow pads this beetle has on the bottom of its tarsi. In life, it clings to one's finger quite well. I've included a high magnification ventral view of its last (closest to the claw) left metatarsal pad (metatarsal segment 3). Note the white substance on the ends of numerous linear tufts of yellow setae. Presumably, this is an adhesive compound similar to that found in L. decemlineata (Colorado Potato Beetle)(3). However, the tarsal setae of L. decemlineata are not fused together in tufts, as appears to be the case in our image. Independent flexibility permits the setae to conform better to an irregular surface for a stronger van der Waal's bond, but stiff tufts arrainged as they are in L. rubiginosa may provide better traction on very rough terrain. There is a vague resemblance to the tread of an ATV tire.

This image is a CombineZP processed stack of 208 images with a 51 micron step taken with a reversed Leitz Focotar-2 enlarging lens set at F5.6 + bellows + Nikon D300.

Images of this individual: tag all
Reddish Potato Beetle, dorsal - Leptinotarsa rubiginosa Reddish Potato Beetle, lateral - Leptinotarsa rubiginosa Reddish Potato Beetle, ventral - Leptinotarsa rubiginosa Reddish Potato Beetle, anterior - Leptinotarsa rubiginosa Reddish Potato Beetle, left metatarsal segment 3 adhesive pad, ventral - Leptinotarsa rubiginosa