Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sleuthing in the garden

Lately, our jimsonweed (Datura wrightii) has put on several big beautiful white trumpet blooms. But what, I wondered, was eating the leaves and leaving all the holes? Yesterday, I finally spotted the sneaky culprit!
 A tortoise beetle! But which species?
I love tortoise beetles so I was excited last year to find not one but two species on native (volunteer) morning glory in the back yard. If you look the two beetle species up, you'll learn that both golden and mottled tortoise beetles feed on plants in the morning glory family.
To figure out my new species, I Googled tortoise beetle with jimsonweed, then looked at images. Voila! Meet a clavate tortoise beetle (Plagiometriona clavata), which feeds on–you got it– jimsonweed, ground-cherries and other plants in the nightshade family. I just love to sleuth in our Wildscape!

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