Burrobrush Leaf Beetle

Leptinotarsa lineolata

adult beetle of Leptinotarsa lineolata, photo © by Mike Plagens

Adults and larvae were both found together feeding on foliage of Burrobrush (Hymenoclea salsola) along Camp Creek, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA on 30 Aug. 2008. The eggs in the photo below were found on the same plant species in Florida Canyon, Sta. Catalina Mts.,

Chrysomelidae -- Leaf Beetle Family

eggs of Leptinotarsa lineolata photo © Michael Plagens

Burrobrush (Hymenoclea salsola) can become very abundant along washes and riparian zones that have been subjected to prolonged heavy grazing by cattle. Natural chemicals in the plant will sicken or deter feeding by cattle, but this leaf beetle has just the opposite response; it will not feed on any other type of plant at all. Most common in Upland Sonoran Desert habitats ranging into Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico.

The adult beetles appear on the plants after the start of summer monsoon rains and lay batches of yellow eggs. larva stage of Leptinotarsa lineolata photo © Michael Plagens The larvae and adults can become quite numerous within a few weeks. Once cattle are removed from rangelands, insects such as these soon control the populations of range weeds that have overtaken the palatable plants grazed away by the cattle.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 2 Sept. 2008,
updated 27 Sept. 2014