Larvae of the False Potato Beetle, Leptinotarsa juncta, on a Carolina Horsenettle

In Albums: nature insects plants

Small beetle grubs, showing white bodies with black spots and brown heads

Aug 16th, 2014, by Alex Zorach

This photo shows the larval stage of Leptinotarsa juncta, or the False Potato Beetle, on its preferred host, the Carolina horsenettle, Solanum carolinense.

Horsenettle is typically viewed as a weed, but as it is a native plant in my area, I decided to leave it. It attracted bumblebees when it bloomed, but it wasn't long before these little guys showed up too and started munching away.

These little critters eat quite a lot of the leaf of this plant, which is not touched by many other insect herbivores. They turn into a rather attractive-looking striped beetles, which I unfortunately was unable to photograph because they have the habit of falling off the leaf and sneaking away into dense vegetation in self-defence if approached closely.