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False Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa juncta)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the False Potato Beetle

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Image Credit: Tim G. from PA
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Image Credit: Tim G, taken on the Appalachian Trail, PA
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Image Credit: Dyllon G. from Altoona, PA
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The False Potato Beetle has yellow or white stripes, likes other potato beetles, but it likes more than just potatoes.

Updated: 07/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The False Potato Beetle looks a lot like the Colorado Potato Beetle. The False Potato Beetle has a brown mid-line between its two wing coverings where the Colorado relative is black. Each elytron, or wing covering, has five black stripes. Between the black stripes are two yellow or white stripes, then a brown stripe, and a last yellow stripe on the outer edge. The brown pronotum has two prominent black dashes on it, which are surrounded by smaller black dots. More black spots appear on the head and face. Legs are orange. Antennae are black with orange hues.

While potatoes seem an obvious food plant, this species is particularly fond of horse nettle. Indeed, it feeds on potato plants, too, but it can expand its dietary options to include ground cherries and bittersweet. Despite its relation to the destructive Colorado Potato Beetle, this species is not considered a significant pest.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Rounded insect body icon
Striped or banded insect icon


Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Chrysomelidae
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          Genus: Leptinotarsa
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            Species: juncta
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Leptinotarsa juncta
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 9mm to 11mm (0.35" to 0.43")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; yellow; orange; white
Descriptors: five stripes; lines; round; spotted; flying; two yellow stripes; brown stripe; black dashes

Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 9mm (0.4in) and 11mm (0.4in)
Lo: 9mm
Md: 10mm
Hi: 11mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the False Potato Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the False Potato Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.


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