Subject: Flea Beetles Eating Up Texas Primrose?
Location: Coryell County, central Texas
April 28, 2013 11:04 pm
Are these Flea Beetles, perhaps even Altica litigata, eating the Texas primrose? Bug Guide lists primrose as a food for the A. litigata, but I’m not sure if that’s what these insects are. They look like miniature Egyptian scarabs to me. I’ve included a photo of a healthy Texas primrose as contrast to the eaten ones. Warm, sunny weather today, 80 degrees. Thank you so much.
(Last entry for awhile, back to work for me! I enjoy your website so much. Makes me think, helps hone my research skills, and it’s all so interesting.)
Hi again Ellen,
We agree that these are Flea Beetles. We haven’t the necessary skills to key them down to a species level, but based on the stated food plants, we believe your identification of Altica litigata is most likely correct.
Update: June 7, 2015
Because of a new submission and new research, another possibility is that these are Apple Flea Beetles, Altica foliaceae, a member of the genus previously identified. According to BugGuide: “Larvae develop on evening primrose (Oenothera); adults disperse to feed on a wide range of plants including Epilobium, Gaura, Zauschneria, grape, crabapple, and willow” and “In recent years, several outbreaks of this insect have occurred throughout Colorado.”