False Potato Beetle, Leptinotarsa juncta
Chrysomelidae or Leaf Beetle Family


Similar in shape and size to the familiar ladybug, but the thorax is brown with black polka dots. Wing covers (called elytras) have black and whit stripes with one brown stripe in the center of each and one more brown stripe on the edge where they meet. Legs are brown. Larva is a white, humpback grub with a row of black spots.

Adults emerge in late spring from the ground where they overwinter. Feed on weeds in the potato family, especially horse nettle (Solanum carolinense) and bittersweet nightshade (S. dulcamara). Apparently is not fond of potatoes (S. tuberosum) and so is not considered an agricultural pest.

Native to much of the eastern United States. Likely common in Wildwood which has plenty of its preferred host plants.

Easy to identify if you check the stripes. The Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) is similar, but has yellow and black stripes and no brown ones. The larva is reddish and has two lines os spots. That species really does like potatoes, and is a serious agricultural pest.




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