Texas Beetle Information

Return to Texas Entomology - Compiled by Mike Quinn

Milkweed Leaf Beetle

Labidomera clivicollis (Kirby, 1837)

Family Chrysomelidae, Subfamily Chrysomelinae, Tribe Chrysomelini

cf: Labidomera suturella


(on Asclepias curassavica)

New Braunfels, Comal Co., TX
October 5, 2003 (M Quinn)


Labidomera clivicollis specimens in a portion of a unit tray curated in the TAMUIC

Texas County Records for Labidomera clivicollis

County Record Data from E.G. Riley, Dec. 2005

State Records for Labidomera clivicollis

Data source Riley et al. 2003

Range: Widespread in North America east of the Rocky Mountains, south to northern Mexico (Riley et al. 2003).


Both larvae and adults feed exclusively on Asclepias, Cynanchum, Sarcostemma - Milkweed family Asclepiadaceae (Clark et al. 2004).

In Central Texas, Cynanchum unifarium is the major host plant (Palmer, 1985a).

Talayote - Cynanchum racemosum var. unifarium - USDA

Adult Activity

In Central Texas, this beetle is active in the spring and fall due the the host plant growth as determined by the bimodal pattern of annual rainfall in the region. Labidomera can diapause only in the adult stage.

In the lab, increasing day lengths induce breeding, shortening day lengths induces diapause.

Larval Activity: 

Larvae undergo four instars prior to burrowing into the soil to pupate (Palmer, 1985a).

Adult size can vary greatly, because larvae in the last stadium (instar) become competent to metamorphose at weights much lower than those normally attained under favorable nutritional conditions. (Palmer, 1984)

Similar Species

There are four species of Labidomera, but only L. clivicollis occurs north of Mexico. The other species occur in Mexico and Central America.

Labidomera suturella (Germar) - Occurs as far north as Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico


Mating pair - Adult cluster - Larval cluster - BugGuide.Net

Biography: William Kirby (1759 1850) was an English entomologist - Wikipedia


Abbot P. & L.M. Dill. 2001. Sexually transmitted parasites and sexual selection in the milkweed leaf beetle, Labidomera clivicollis. Oikos 92(1): 91-100. 

Arnett, R.H., Jr., M.C. Thomas, P.E. Skelley & J.H. Frank. (editors). 2002. American Beetles, Volume II: Polyphaga: Scarabaeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL. xiv + 861 pp.

Baker T.C. & G.C. Eickwort. 1975. Development and bionomics of Chrysomelobis labidomerae...a parasite of the milkweed leaf beetle (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Canadian Entomologist. 107: 627-638. 

Borror, D.J. 1960. Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms. National Press Books, Palo Alto. v + 134 pp.

Choe, J.C. 1989. Maternal care in Labidomera suturella Chevrolat (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Chrysomelinae) from Costa Rica. Psyche 96(1-2): 63-68. 

Clark, S.M., D.G. LeDoux, T.N. Seeno, E.G. Riley, A.J. Gilbert and J.M. Sullivan. 2004. Host plants of leaf beetle species occurring in the United States and Canada (Coleoptera: Megalopodidae, Orsodacnidae, Chrysomelidae exclusive of Bruchinae). Coleopterists Society, Special Publication no. 2. 476 pp.

Daccordi, M. & L. LeSage 1999. Revision of the genus Labidomera Dejean with description of two new species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Chrysomelinae). Pp. 437-461 in: M.L. Cox (editor). Advances in Chrysomelidae biology. Volume I. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands. xii + 671 pp.

Dickinson, J.L. 1986. Prolonged mating in the milkweed leaf beetle (Labidomera clivicollis): a test of the "sperm-loading" hypothesis. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 18: 331-338.

Dickinson, J.L. 1988. Determinants of paternity in the milkweed leaf beetle. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 23: 9-19.

Dickinson, JL. 1992. Egg cannibalism by larvae and adults of the milkweed leaf beetle (Labidomera clivicollis , Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Ecological Entomology 17(3): 209-218. 

Dickinson, JL 1992. Scramble competition polygyny in the milkweed leaf beetle: Combat, mobility, and the importance of being there. Behavioral Ecology 3(1): 32-41.

Dickinson, J.L. 1996. The behavior and ecology of Labidomera Chevrolat. Pp 323-335 in: P. Jolivet, T. Hsaio, and M.L. Cox (editors) The Biology of the Chrysomelidae, III, SPB Academic Publishing, Amsterdam.

Drummond, F.A., Casagrande, R.A., & Logan, PA. 1988. Behavior of Chrysomelobia labidomerae Eickwort parasitizing the Colorado potato beetle. International Journal of Acarology 14(4): 193-198. 

Eickwort. K. R. 1973. Cannibalism and kin selection in Labidomera clivicollis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). The American Midland Naturalist 107: 452-453. 

Eickwort, K.R. 1977. Population dynamics of a relatively rare species of Milkweed beetle (Labidomera). Ecology 58(3): 527-538. 

Hsiao, T.H. & C. Hsiao. 1983. Chromosomal analysis of Leptinotarsa and Labidomera Species (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Genetica 60: 139-150.

Kirby, W. 1837. Insects. Coleoptera. P. 213. In: J. Richardson. (ed.) Fauna Boreali-Americana; or the zoology of the northern parts of British America. Part 4. Norwich, London. 325 pp.

Lawson, F.A. 1991. Chrysomelidae (Chrysomeloidea) pp. 568-593. In: Stehr, F.W. (editor) Immature Insects. Volume 2. Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, Dubuque, Iowa. xiv + 975 pp.

LeConte, J.L. 1858. Descriptions of new species of Coleoptera, chiefly collected by the United States and Mexican boundary commission, under Major W.H. Emory, U.S.A. Proceedings Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 10: 59-89.

Palmer, J.O. 1981. Life history consequences of resource seasonality in the milkweed leaf beetle, Labidomera clivicollis. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Texas at Austin. 198 pp.

Palmer, J.O. 1982. Photoperiodic effect on size-related metamorphosis in the milkweed leaf beetle, Labidomera clivicollis. Physiological Entomology 7: 37-41.

Palmer, J.O. 1983. Photoperiodic control of reproduction in the milkweed leaf beetle, Labidomera clivicollis. Physiological Entomology 8: 187-194.

Palmer, J.O. 1984. Environmental determinants of seasonal body size variation in the milkweed leaf beetle, Labidomera clivicollis (Kirby) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 77: 188-192.

Palmer, J.O. 1985a. Phenology and dormancy in the milkweed leaf beetle Labidomera clivicollis (Kirby). The American Midland Naturalist 114:13-18.

Palmer, J.O. 1985b. Life history consequences of body size variation in the milkweed leaf beetle, Labidomera clivicollis (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 78: 603-608.

Peterson A. 1951. Larvae of Insects; Part II -- Coleoptera, Diptera, Neuroptera, Siphonaptera, Mecoptera, Trichoptera. Edwards Bros., Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich. 416 pp.

Riley, E.G., S.M. Clark, & T.N. Seeno. 2003. Catalog of the leaf beetles of America north of Mexico (Coleoptera: Megalopodidae, Orsodacnidae and Chrysomelidae, excluding Bruchinae). Coleopterists Society, Special Publication no. 1. 290 pp.

Van Zandt, P.A. & A.A. Agrawal. 2004. Specificity of induced plant responses to specialist herbivores of the common milkweed Asclepias syriaca. Oikos 104(2): 401.

24 Aug 2008   Mike Quinn / entomike@gmail.com / Texas Entomology / Texas Beetle Information