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Potato Capsid Closterotomus norwegicus

A greenish bug, measuring 6 to 8 mm. Head and neck shield usually are a darker green than the rest of the body. There often are some reddish smears on the shields, but these are highly variable. The two spots on the neckshield may be missing in some animals. And the scutellum may be unmarked as well. If in doubt measure the length of the 2nd segment of the antenna: it is about the same as the length of the 3rd and 4th segment combined. Adult bugs are seen from May to October in just one breed.

The eggs are overwintering to produce the first larvae in March or April. Despite the name Potato Capsid this species uses a great number of plants to feed on. It has been found in strawberries, alphalpha, beet, daisies, hemp, hop etc. Most damage however is done to potatoes. The places where the insect injected the leaf to suck sap turn red and the leaf curls, sometimes falling off the plant. The damage looks a lot like even more devastating virus attacks.

With potatoes and other plant material this species reached New Zealand and the USA also, where it is considered a mild pest. Scientists are looking for the right parasites to use against the Potato Capsid. Natural enemies are some six members of the genus Peristenus, Braconid wasps. This is a common species all over Europe, including all of Britain.