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Japanese Beetle (Popillia japonica)


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



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The vexatious and tenacious Japanese Beetle wreaks havoc on roses, hibiscus, and other showy flowers.



Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Japanese Beetle is a notorious pest that is not native to North America. It is believed to have arrived via shipping transport from Japan into New Jersey in the early part of the 1900's. Since then, the beetle has made a home in most of the continent and has been moving through Europe as well.

The beetle is commonly identified by its very unique, two-tone coloring. The upper half of the insect is an emerald green; the lower half is a copper brown. The entire Japanese Beetle has a metallic sheen on it. Noticeable grooves or ridges run the length of the coppery elytra (wing coverings). Also helpful identifiers are the small tufts of white hair that stick out from the sides of its abdomen.

Japanese Beetles are known for their destructive powers thanks to their diet. Adults feed off of most any type of cultivated and wild plants. Prized blossoms like roses, hibiscus, and daisies are chewed into and left rotting under smears of beetle feces. Leaves are chewed into, leaving behind a skeleton of veins. Even as a larva, the Japanese Beetle will attack the roots of grass and other turf plants. The white grubs hide just under the soil's surface and pupate underground.

Due to their destructive life cycle to native North American flora, elimination of this insect is a common chore for farmers and gardeners. Traps have been created using their own pheromone to lure them. Placed near plants, however, one may actually end up attracting more than the traps can kill. Insecticide use is complicated because chemicals that kill the beetle also kill good pollinators needed to create blooms in the first place. This insect has become the bane of many growers instead of a jewel to be admired.




Known Diet of the Japanese-Beetle



shrubs, trees, foliage, flowers, vegetables


General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Garden pest insect icon
Hairy insect icon
Pest insect icon
Shiny insect icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Scarabaeidae
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          Genus: Popillia
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            Species: japonica
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Popillia japonica
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 8mm to 12mm (0.31" to 0.47")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green, brown, red, white, copper, black
Descriptors: metallic, green, hairy, fuzz, flying, garden pest

Japanese-Beetle Video(s)




Taking a stroll.
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 8mm (0.3in) and 12mm (0.5in)
Lo: 8mm
Md: 10mm
Hi: 12mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Japanese 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 Japanese Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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