Chnootriba similis (Thunberg)

Epilachna similis. Adult beetle,
Epilachna similis. Adult beetle, length 6 mm.

Scientific name: Chnootriba similis (Thunberg)
Common names: Tef Epilachna; Tef Ladybird Beetle
Synonym: Epilachna similis (Thunberg)

Order: Coleoptera
Family: Coccinellidae

Main hosts: Tef, Maize, Barley, Wheat, Grasses, Several other plants

Minor pest of: Barley, Sorghum, Tef, Wheat, Millets

"Windowing" caused by Epilachna similis.
“Windowing” caused by Epilachna similis.

Larvae and adults feed on the leaves, leaving one epidermis and the veins intact. This type of damage is called “windowing”. Heavily attacked leaves are skeletonized and dry up.

Egg: The eggs are laid in clusters of 20-50 eggs. The colour is pale yellow. They are elongate oval and have a hexagonal sculpturing. They are about 0.5 mm long. Usually the eggs are laid on the underside of the leaves in a vertical position.

Epilachna similis. Larva
Epilachna similis. Larva, length 6 mm.

Larva: Young larvae are pale yellow and covered with delicate spines. While feeding they make rows of small windows in the leaves. Mature larvae are dark yellow in colour. They are broad, with a dark head and strong branched spines. They are 6-7 mm long. The larval period takes about 16 days.

Pupa: The pupa is dark yellow. It is found on the leaves of the host plant.

Adult: Adults are oval, hemispherical beetles of about 6-8 mm length. They are reddish to brownish yellow, but the colour is very variable. The elytra are marked with black spots. These beetles are very good fliers. They look like typical Ladybird Beetles but Epilachna species are the only phytophagous representatives of this family. Other Ladybird Beetles are very beneficial insects because they are predators of aphids and other soft bodied insect pests. Often the adults of predatory Ladybirds are shiny, while E. similis has a rather dull appearance.

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