Aulacophora foveicollis

Aulacophora foveicollis (Lucas)

(Also known as Raphidopalpa foveicollis Lucas).

Common name: red pumpkin beetle.

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae.

Morphology: Body of adults about 7 mm long, bright-red in color except for the black venter of the thorax and abdomen. Larva yellow-white, head dark-brown, up to 15 mm in length.

Geographical distribution: Africa, Mediterranean region, India and Pakistan.

Host plants: Aulacophora foveicollis is polyphagous, attacking more than 80 plant species, preferring those in the family Cucurbitaceae.

Life history: Females lay an average of 500 eggs close to host plants and the emerging larvae enter the soil to gnaw on roots and later on the foliage and fruits, preferring the flowers. They pupate in the soil and complete 2-3 annual generations. Its optimal temperature is around 27–28°C.

Economic importance: Larval feeding on roots causes rot and withering. Adults’ feeding on seedlings may retard development and even death, resulting in bare patches in the field. The beetles sometimes aggregate on and gnaw the foliage of older plants, which become skeletonized and may drop. Flower parts can also suffer some damage, resulting in reduced fruit setting. Their lower parts of young fruits show scars caused by adult feeding, enabling the invasion by rot-causing microorganisms. In some cases 90% of the crop may be lost.


Monitoring: Yellow sticky traps are used for monitoring and for mass-trapping.

Horticultural methods: Light irrigation that does not moistened the roots may kill the eggs due to desiccation.

Plant resistance: Cucurbit species and cultivars with low concentrations of the feeding stimulant cucurbitacin appear to be associated with resistance. Cucurbits with shorter trichomes and those with higher levels of triterpenes are attacked to a lesser degree. Several beetle-resistant muskmelon cultivars have been bred.

Chemical control: Neem and carbamates provided good control, as did extracts of the plant Parthenium hysterophorus L.

Biological Control: Several natural enemies attack the beetle in different parts of the world. These include the tachinid Medinodexia morgana (Hardy) and the reduviid Rhinocoris fuscipes Fabricius. Bacteria and nematodes may also kill the pest in laboratory trials, as did as the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (Bals.-Criv.) Vuill. ) in the field.


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Ali, H., Ahmad, S., Hassan, G., Amin, A. and Naeem, N. 2011. Efficacy of different botanicals against red pumpkin beetle (Aulacophora foveicollis) in bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.). Pakistan Journal of Weed Science Research 17: 65-71.

Chandravadana, M.V. 1987. Identification of triterpenoid feeding deterrent of red pumpkin beetles (Aulacophora foveicollis) from Momordica charantia. Journal of Chemical Ecology 13: 1689-1694.

Dhillon N. P. S. and Wehner T. C. 1987. Genetics of resistance to red pumpkin beetle (Aulacophora foveicollis) in summer squash (Cucurbita pepo L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics 73: 711-715.

Khan, L., Shah, M. and Usman, A. 2015. Host preference of red pumpkin beetle (Aulacophora faveicollis) Lucas (Chrysomelidae: Coleoptera) among different cucurbits. Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 3: 100-104.

Melamed-Madjae, V. 1960. Studies on the red pumpkin beetle in Israel. Ktavim 10: 139-145.

Rashid, M.A., Khan, M.A., Arif, M.J., Gogi, M.D. and Bashir, M.H. 2015. Investigating the performance of different mechanical traps for the management of red pumpkin beetle (Ailacophora foveicollis Lucas) in Indian snap melon. Pakistan Entomologist 37:133-136.

Rashid, M.A., Khan, M.A., Arif, M.J. and Javed, N. 2015. Intensive management of red pumpkin beetle (Aulacophora foveicollis Lucas) in different ecological regions. Pakistan Journal of Zoology 47: 1611-1616.

Shaheen, A.H. 1973. Biological studies on Aulacophora foveicollis Lucas in Egypt. Agricultural Research Review 51: 91-95.

Waterhouse, D.F. and Norris, K.R. 1987. Biological Control - Pacific Prospects. Inkata Press, Melbourne, pp. 454.

Vishwakarma, R., Chand, P. and, Ghatak, S.S. 2011. Potential plant extracts and entomopathogenic fungi against red pumpkin beetle, Raphidopalpa foveicollis (Lucas). Annals of Plant Protection Sciences 19: 84-87.