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Leaf-footed Bug - L. zonatus (Leptoglossus zonatus)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Leaf-footed Bug - L. zonatus

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Image Credit: Zack from southern Louisiana
Full-sized image of the Leaf-Footed-Bug-Leptoglossus-Zonatus Thumbnail image of the Leaf-Footed-Bug-Leptoglossus-Zonatus
Image Credit: Lauris C., taken in the Central Valley of CA
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Leaf-footed Bugs are moving into and spending more time in backyards, which may mean a bit more work for the gardener.

Updated: 03/30/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Like its Eastern counterpart, this species of Leaf-footed Bug has thick 'thighs' that are flattened out, almost leaf-like in shape. A single white line crosses the middle of the wings in a zig-zag fashion. Two yellow spots riddled with dark specks are found on the pronotum near the head. The young Leptoglossus zonatus has a long mouth part used to pierce plant parts and subsequently suck out the liquid nourishment inside. As an adult, the insect will break down a tough seed using an enzymatic chemical it spits onto it. Leaves, stems, and fruit are all susceptible to the appetite of this species. Though it is unlikely to kill the plant and ruin harvest, it can mar produce aesthetically.

As if on cue, females move from the weeds they usually inhabit during winter and spring into a garden just when fruits and vegetables become ripe. They lay their brown cylindrical eggs in a line on a host plant. End to end, this line of eggs almost looks like a worm. The most common plants damaged by L. zonatus are tomatoes, pistachios, pomegranates, satsuma oranges, and almonds. Controlling the number of this species of Leaf-footed Bug by using row covers and removing weeds in the garden area can make vegetable patch infiltration less likely. Removing piles of wood, fallen and empty pomegranates, and fallen tree bark helps eliminate places that adults take shelter in during winter months. Though not considered a serious pest problem, this Leaf-footed Bug does not the farmer or gardener any benefits for its company.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Harmful insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Spiny / Spiky insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hemiptera
        Family: Coreidae
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          Genus: Leptoglossus
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            Species: zonatus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Leptoglossus zonatus
Other Name(s): Western Leaf-Footed Bug (though technically this name has already been assigned a different species)
Category: True Bug
Size (Adult; Length): 15mm to 20mm (0.59" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: brown; white; yellow; black
Descriptors: stripe; line; zigzag; thick; spiky; thighs; legs; flying; yellow; spots; speckled; shoulder; harmful

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 15mm (0.6in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 15mm
Md: 17.5mm
Hi: 20mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Leaf-footed Bug - L. zonatus 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 Leaf-footed Bug - L. zonatus. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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