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The genus Crioceris contains at least 17 described beetle species (Schmidt, 1988). Very little is known about most of these species, with the exception of two: C. asparagi and C. duodecimpunctata, which are known because of their pest status on commercial asparagus crops. The common asparagus beetle (Crioceris asparagi) is a widespread and important pest of commercial asparagus crops (Asparagus officinalis) in Europe and North America. In both the larva and the adult stage this species feeds only on asparagus plants, causing considerable damage. The adult beetle is bright blue and brown with cream-colored spots. Crioceris duodecimpunctata, the spotted asparagus beetle, is easily distinguished from C. asparagi by its red and black spotted color pattern. In addition to feeding on asparagus, C. duodecimpunctata can also be found on plants in the family Cucurbitaceae (cucumber). Because of some small differences in behaviors the spotted asparagus beetle, although regularly found on commercial asparagus, is far less destructive to asparagus crops than is C. asparagi. The two species have similar distributions throughout Europe and North America.

Other Crioceris species have been recorded on commercial asparagus: C. quatuordecimpunctata (Scopoli) in eastern Europe, C. quinquepunctata (Scopoli) in south-eastern Europe, C. macilenta Weise in southern Europe and north Africa, C. viridissima in Kenya, and C. nigropunctata in Somalia. An undescribed south African species of Crioceris has been studied for its possibility as an agent for controlling Asparagus asparagoides (L.) W. Wight (bridal creeper), which, native to South Africa, has posed very serious environmental consequences as an exotic weed in Australia (Witt and Edwards 2000).

(Fraval 1977; University of Illinois extension 2011; Wikipedia 2010; Wikipedia 2011; Watts 1912; Witt and Edwards, 2002)


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