What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

yellow black striped bug
August 2, 2009
I e-mailed you yesterday (August 1st) about a tiny yellow black striped bug I found on my plant. I found out it’s a striped cucumber beetle.
However, the tiny eggs and larvae I found on the same plant might not be from the cucumber beetle. Can you help me figuring out what the eggs/larvae are?
A. Smith
Sanford, NC

Striped Cucumber Beetle

Three Lined Lema Beetle

small yellow/black bug and larva
August 1, 2009
Hi Bugman!
August 1st, NC
I just found this tiny yellow/black striped bug (about 1/4 inch) on my plants (it can fly and two of them were mating) and also these tiny yellow eggs and little worms (larva?). They seem to have poop on their back. They are eating my plant. Can you tell me what bug and what kind of larva this is? Pest or not?
Thank you!
A. Smith
Sanford, NC

Striped Cucumber Beetle Larvae

Three Lined Lema Beetle Larvae

Dear A.,
We are very excited to get your photo documentation of the life stages of a Three Lined Lema Beetle, Lema trivittata
BugGuide has numerous images of the adult, but no photos of a larva.  The larvae of the Skeletonizing Leaf Beetles have general similarities, and since the adults, eggs and larvae were all found on the same plant, circumstantial evidence indicates that they are all the same species.  Another species in the genus, Lema daturaphila, is called the Three Lined Potato Beetle, and it looks very similar.  Here is how BugGuide identifies the differences:  “Identification  Adults virtually of same appearance as L. daturaphila, but may be discriminated as follows (according to White&Day):
– median yellow band on elytra paler at sides in living specimens (of one colour in daturaphila; seems not to work with bugguide images);
– lateral black band covering 2 1/2 intervals at most (more than 2 1/2 in daturaphila);
(following characters of +/- gradual nature)
– tibiae usually yellow for more than half of their length (nearly always dark to more than 1/2 in daturaphila);
– femora often dark apically (rarely so in daturaphila)
– sternal pieces often broadly black (sometimes narrowly black in daturaphila)
The eggs of trivittata are said to have blackish tips, while those of daturaphila are dark yellow throughout.
The fact that your eggs have black tips satisfies us that you have the Three Lined Lema Beetle, Lema trivittata, living on your plant.  We wish you had provided a name for the plant.

Three Lined Potato Beetle Eggs

Three Lined Lema Beetle Eggs

August 2, 2009
Thank you so much for identifying my mystery bug and pointing out the difference between the trivittata and daturaphila!
I guess I was wrong about the cucumber beetle 🙂
In my submission I actually wanted to tell you the name of the plant but I forgot what it’s called. I did a little bit of research and found the name: Iochroma cyanea ‘Purple Queen’
Unfortunately, the larvae is eating the leaves :(.
Thanks again!
Astrid Smith

Hi Again Astrid,
Iachroma cyanea is in the family Solanacea, which is consistent with the food source of the Three Lined Lema Beetle.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

3 Responses to Three Lined Lema Beetle: imago, larva and eggs

  1. Astronaut says:

    I live in Brisbane, Queensland and I have a Three Lined Lema Beetle infestation all over my cape gooseberry bushes. They have pretty much annihilated the plant. I have plenty of photos ect if you’d like them, of eggs, larve and the beetle themselves. I found this website to be very useful as for the past few days I had nicknamed them “Sh*t Beetles” as they had ruined one of my shirts as I walked past them. Out of interest they haven’t attacked any other plant around them, including zucchinis, roses, cucumbers,comfrey and others. More info can be provided (as well as specimens :I ). Just ask.

  2. gravenkiss says:

    I live on the Gold Coast, QLD, and I have EXACTLY the same issue with these beetles attacking my cape gooseberry also :(. I really want to know how to deter/control them or I”m never going to get any fruit from my plant.

  3. tessha_m says:

    i have these on my cape gooseberry too. The lavau ate all the leaves and i squished all the beetles. The plant is making a comeback but the beetles have returned… Any idea on how to get rid of them MUCH appreciated!

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