Colorado potato beetle

  Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), adult.  Photo by Z. Szendrei
Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), adult. Photo by Z. Szendrei
Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) larvae Photo by Z. Szendrei
Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), larva. Photo by Z. Szendrei

The cultivated potato (Solanum tuberosum) is the most important vegetable crop and the fourth most important food crop in the world. Colorado potato beetle (CPB, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) is the most important defoliator of potatoes world-wide and has developed resistance to all known classes of insecticides (over 50 compounds) used to control it in commercial production. Growers and pest managers are greatly concerned that CPB is so remarkable at rapidly evolving and adapting to new toxic substances. Even Bt proteins (Bacillus thuringiensis) deployed via transgenic plants cannot guarantee long-term solutions for its control, thus the insect’s ability to develop resistance goes beyond the synthetic insecticide group. Understanding the molecular aspects of resistance evolution is fundamental for designing informed and environmentally conscious management tactics that can break the vicious cycle of developing resistance to new control measures.

We currently have a project focusing on the identification of genes involved in the resistance of CPB to neonicotinoid insecticides. The main goal is to understand the mechanisms behind the insect’s capacity for developing resistance to insecticides, using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). We are currently assessing tissues obtained from the head and gut from adults and from larvae of a susceptible and resistant colonies.

At this time, we are maintaining four Colorado potato beetle colonies in our lab that are either susceptible or resistant to different insecticides.

This article was written by  Z.S. 

Department of Entomology
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Michigan State University
East Lansing MI 48824
Phone 517-355-4633
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MSU AgBioResearch

109 Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Dr. Zsofia Szendrei
Vegetable Entomology Lab
Department of Entomology
Michigan State University
1129 Farm Lane, Room 348
Food Safety and Toxicology Bldg.
East Lansing MI 48824