Monday, June 20, 2005
Colorado potato beetle larvae dining on nightshade leaves
Latin name: Leptinotarsa decemlineata
Nancy and I went to a garden centre this past Saturday. While Nancy was ogling herbs and ground cover, I looked around the place for insects to photograph. In a grassy area by a pool of water in a culvert I found many Colorado potato beetles munching away on Deadly Nightshade leaves.
The Colorado Potato Beetle is actually thought to have originated in Mexico somewhere. It feeds on plants in the Nightshade family, which inludes the potato, tomato, petunia, tobacco, and eggplant. The increase in cultivation of the potato led to its spread around North America. Members of the Nightshade family of plants produce alkaloyds at dangerous levels various parts of the plant. The orange colour of the Colorado Potato beetle larva may serve as a warning that it is toxic.