Henosepilachna elaterii

Henosepilachna elaterii (Rossi)

(Also known as Epilachna chrysomelina (Fabricius))

Systematic position: Insecta, Holometabola, Coleoptera, Coccinelidae.

Common name: Melon ladybird beetle, melon ladybird, twelve-spotted melon beetle.

Geographical distribution: Southern Europe, Africa, Middle East, India, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. CIE Distribution Maps of Plant Pests Map ## 409, updated 1992.

Morphology: The larvae are dark yellow, 8-9 mm in length, each segment bears dorsally several thick branched black setae. Adult body covered by fine pubescence, hemispherical in shape, mostly orange-colored, each elytron with 6 black spots.

Host plants: Various cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae), especially cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) as well as melons, water melons and gourds.

Life history: In the Middle East the pest usually raises 4-5 annual generations, and the calculated threshold of development was at around 14°C. In spring adults emerge from dormancy and begin to lay several hundred eggs/female on the undersides of host leaves. The larvae feed and pupate there; those of the autumnal generation then entering dormancy. The adults, which can live for several months, feed on the same plants, sometimes aggregating there in the hundreds. Usually there are 3-4 annual generations. Temperatures of 25-32°C and high humilities are optimal for the pests, which can disperse by flying.

Economic importance: Most injury is to young cucumber, melon and pumpkin plants. Entire seedlings can be consumed, and partially damaged plants may rot. Feeding on fruits reduces value and enables the invasion of molds. Additional damage is due to the transmission of squash mosaic virus by the beetle, a disease causing, leaf blistering, yellowing and misshapen fruits.


Cultural control: Removal of cucurbit residues after harvest, autumn plowing, and crop rotation.

Plant resistance: The pest is less fecund on several cucumber cultivars, suggesting options for resistance breeding.

Chemical control: Organophosphates, carbamates and pyretroids provide full control. Kaolin particle films on leaves greatly inhibited feeding as well as oviposition. Neem or “Neudosan”, a compound consisting of potassium salts of fatty acids, significantly shortened the lives of emerging adults and reduced their fecundity.

Biological control: The endemic Egyptian entomopathogenic fungus Trichoderma harzianum Rifai, applied with neem seed oil, brought about 90% pest mortality. Endemic Egyptian Entomopathogenic nematodes killed 65-85% of the pest’s larvae.


Abd El-Aziz, S.E. 2003. Evaluation of particle films for controlling melon ladybird, Henosepilachna elaterii (Ross) on cantaloupe plants (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Bulletin of the Entomological Society of Egypt, Economic Series 29: 21-34.

Abdel‐Moniem, A.S.H. and Gesraha, M.A. 2001. Evaluation of certain entomopathogenic nematodes against the melon ladybird, Epilachna chrysomelina F. (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection 34: 327-336.

Abdel-Moniem, A.S.H., Gomaa, A.A., Dimetry, N.Z., Wetzel, T. and Volkmar, C. 2004. Laboratory evaluation of certain natural compounds against the melon ladybird beetle, Epilachna chrysomelina F. attacking cucurbit plants. Archives of Phytopathology and Plant Protection 37: 71-81.

Akandeh, M. and Shishehbor, P. 2011. Life history traits of melon ladybeetle, Epilachna chrysomelina (Col.: Coccinellidae), on four host plant species. Journal of Entomological Society of Iran 31: 17-27.

Ali, A.E. 2009. A note on life cycle of the African melon ladybird, Henosepilachna elaterii (Rossi) (Coleoptera: Coccinelidae). Sudan Journal of Agricultural Research 13: 125-128.

El-Abdin A.M.Z. and Siragelnour B.G., 1991. Biological aspects, food preference and chemical control of the cucurbit beetle, Henosepilachna elaterii (Rossi) (Coleoptera; Coccinellidae). Arab Journal of Plant Protection 9: 103–110.

Cohen, S. and Nitzani, F.E. 1963. Identity of viruses affecting cucurbits in Israel. Phytopathology 53: 193-196.

Melamed, V., 1956: Contributions to the biology of Epilachna chrysomclina in Israel. Ktavim 7: 83-95.

Mahmoud, A.K., Mudawi, H.I., Gorashi, N.E and Mubarak, A.A. 2009. Potential biological control of the African melon lady bird beetle Henosepilachna elaterii (Rossi) utilizing neem seed oil and indigenous Trichoderma harzianum and Bacillus thuringiensis. The Association of African Insect Scientists 22nd Meetingand Scientific Conference.

Wool, D. and van Emden, H. F. 1981. Influence of temperature, photoperiod and host-plant on the bionomics of the melon ladybird Epilachna chrysomelina (F.) (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae). Zeitschrift für Angewandte Entomologie 91: 256-262.