IUCN threat status:

Not evaluated

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Megacopta cribraria is a "true bug" (Order Hemiptera) in the Old World family Plataspidae. It is native to Asia and the Indian subcontinent, but was found on Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata) in abundance in Georgia (U.S.A.) in 2009 (and is now the only plataspid known to occur in the New World). It feeds mainly on leguminous plants such as Kudzu and Soybean (Glycine max), sucking sap from stems, petioles (leaf stalks), and leaves, but it is also known as a pest of Chinese fruit trees.

Regardless of its possible beneficial impacts in the U.S. by reducing Kudzu populations or harmful impacts on native plants or agricultural crops, M. cribraria may be a a nuisance pest because of the habit of adults of aggregating on houses as they seek overwintering sites in the vicinity of Kudzu patches. How M. cribraria arrived in the United States and where it came from is still unknown, but it has spread quickly. In 2009, only nine Georgia counties were infested but by August 2011 nearly all of Georgia and South Carolina and over half of North Carolina counties were infested. Megacopta cribraria is not a defoliator, but large numbers of adults arrive in Kudzu patches in the spring, where they and their offspring feed continuously throughout the year, resulting in a reduction in overall plant growth of at least a third. If M. cribraria does effectively deplete Kudzu root reserves and reduces its ability to climb, this could benefit southern forests as well as farmers, utility companies, and railroads that must deal with Kudzu encroaching on their land, climbing utility poles, and growing across their tracks.

(Zhang et al. 2012 and references therein)

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