Gonioctena fornicataBr├╝ggemann

Lucerne leaf beetle entering US on tiles from Italy

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Name: Gonioctena fornicata Br├╝ggemann
Taxonomic Position:
Animalia: Arthropoda: Insecta: Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae
Common Names: Lucerne leaf beetle

This leaf beetle is one of the most serious pests of alfalfa in some parts of Europe, where in some instances larvae have caused complete crop loss. While adult beetles feed only on the leaves of their host plants, larvae will also consume petioles and young stems. Like adults, older larvae are yellowish to orange with black spots. Gonioctena fornicata is not known to occur in North America.

Issues of Concern: Although historically not intercepted frequently, Gonioctena fornicata has been consistently detected on ceramic and quarry tiles originating from Italy during the past two years. Females may lay over 1,000 eggs per season. Climatic conditions are suitable for development in many parts of North America. As this beetle feeds on some economically very important legumes and its host range may include more species than reported thus far, its potential for impacting North American agriculture is considerable.

Pathways: Shipments of tiles from Italy, especially during the month of May.

Hosts: alfalfa (Medicago sativa); black medick (Medicago lupulina); clover (Trifolium sp.)

Germany; Poland; Czech Republic; Austria; Hungary; Italy; Yugoslavia; Greece; Romania; Bulgaria; Turkey; Syria; Iraq; former U.S.S.R.; Great Britain; North Africa

Detection Strategies
Carefully inspect tiles. Most beetles are found by climbing on top of pallet stacks in containers.

Other names used for this pest are Phytodecta fornicata (Bruggem.), Phytodecta sexpunctata Panzer, Gonioctena sexpunctata Panz.
There are several similar-looking species in the same genus.


USDA. 1963. Insects not Known to Occur in the United States. 147: 11-12

Warning: The information in this archived item was not confirmed with the appropriate National Plant Protection Organization and is provided solely for informational purposes. Please use this information with caution.