Colorado potato beetle

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Colorado potato beetle:

see potato beetlepotato beetle,
name for two beetles of the leaf beetle family and for two of the blister beetle family, all destructive to the potato plant and its relatives. Most notorious is the Colorado potato beetle, or potato bug (Leptinotarsa decemlineata
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Colorado Potato Beetle


(Leptinotarsa decemlineata), an insect of the family Chrysomelidae, a dangerous quarantine pest of potatoes and other Solanaceae crops. The body is 9–11 mm long, oval, and yellow; each elytron has five black stripes; the wings are bright pink; the pronotum has black spots, of which the central one is V-shaped. The shiny light orange egg is oval and 2.4 mm long. The brick-red larva may reach 15 mm in length and has two black points along the sides of each segment except the first thoracic.

The Colorado potato beetle is native to North America. In Europe it first appeared in France in 1922 and subsequently spread to almost all countries. In the USSR it is distributed in Byelorussia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, the Ukraine, and the RSFSR. There are one or two generations a year. Adult beetles winter in the soil. Most surface in May and June, but some remain in diapause until spring.

The beetles eat leaves. They lay their eggs on the undersides of leaves of potato shoots, in groups of 15–20. A beetle may yield up to 3,000 eggs. Larvae in the first instar chew out the flesh of the leaf from below, and in the second instar, destroy all the flesh, leaving only the thick inner veins. The most voracious are larvae in the fourth instar, which pupate in the soil at the level of the plowed layer. In hot summer weather and in autumn before they hibernate, the beetles are capable of migrations of 40–300 km.

The Colorado potato beetle is an extremely flexible species that can survive various ecological conditions. It represents a particular threat to the USSR, because it can easily acclimatize and reproduce in all the principal regions of potato cultivation. Control measures include quarantine (plant quarantine) and treatment of plants with insecticides and insecticides mixed with micro-biological preparations when the larvae of the second in-star appear and when the beetles are hatching.


Koloradskiizhuk i mery bor’bysnim, collections 1–2. Moscow, 1955–58. Iakovlev, B. V. Koloradskii kartofel’nyi zhuk. Riga, 1960.
Ekologiia ifiziologiia diapauzy koloradskogo zhuka: Sb. Moscow, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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