5 Plants And Animals That Live In The Desert Henosepilachna Vigintioctopunctata: The Hadda Beetle

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Henosepilachna Vigintioctopunctata: The Hadda Beetle

Insects are earth-dwelling animals that are well-adapted to survive in every type of environment imaginable. They can survive under conditions of cold temperature, desert and hot regions. They are arthropods whose number is greater when compared with all animal species. They are gifted with powerful adaptations that help them occupy all available habitats. The body of insects is divided into three parts, the head, thorax and abdomen, which have different organs for performing different functions. Although the organ system appears simple but it is complex when studied in detail. The bear’s compound eyes are adapted for mosaic vision and the antennae are chemosensors, detecting chemicals in the environment. The head also bears a mouth with mouth parts adapted for eating, chewing, drinking, blowing or punching etc. The foot also bears three pairs of legs adapted for walking, swimming, burrowing or digging depending on the habitat of the insect. The abdomen bears reproductive organs and may terminate in the ovipositor or shoot. All insects are placed in the class Insecta which is further divided into a number of orders and suborders based on the characters of the insect.

Insects are very beneficial creatures as they maintain ecological balance. Some are useful economically as they provide us with useful materials like silk, honey or lac. Some are popular and their presence annoys us, some are acting as living diseases while some have been known to damage our crops causing heavy economic losses. Ladybird beetles are known as gardeners’ friends but some have become pests that damage nightshades and cucurbits. They are placed in the family Coccinellidae and order Coleoptera due to the presence of elytra which are modifications of the front wings and thus, provide protection to the delicate, membranous wings. Henosepilachna vigintioctopunctata is one of the most important insect species of Epilachninae family. It is commonly known as 28-spotted ladybeetle or Hadda beetle which was previously known as Epilachna vigintioctopunctata. It is known to damage the foliage of potatoes and other allied crops and has its origin far to the east of Russia. Members of the Epilachninae family are similar in their size and appearance, habits and habitats, distribution and other aspects that have often confused researchers both in literature and in museum specimens.

The body of the hadda beetle is about 7 mm long, round, convex and smooth. The color of the beetle is reddish-brown with thirteen small spots on each elytron and one spot each on both sides of the thorax. The beetle undergoes complete metamorphosis. Life history consists of egg, larva, pupa and adult. The mature female after mating lays eggs in clusters on the underside of leaves. Each clutch contains ten to seventy eggs but the female’s egg production is highly dependent on the amount and quality of food. Food is known to provide energy to perform the essential functions of life. The anatomy and physiology of the female is more complex compared to that of the male because she has to lay eggs that will allow the progression of the race. Their eggs are 1.5 mm in diameter and are yellow in color and do not turn orange before hatching. The eggs hatch in 4-5 days depending on weather conditions into small yellow larvae equipped with spines on their bodies. With every moult the spines become tough and noticeable and their actual function is protection from enemies. The larva feeds on the epidermal layer of the leaves of the host plant. The third and fourth instars are voracious feeders as they are under peer pressure to enter pupation.

Leaves damaged by larvae show only veins and therefore, the beetles are also known as vegetable scrapping beetle. The fourth instar after it is fully developed enters pupation. Red is a purple color. The back is dark brown while the front is smooth. The pupal period is also affected by weather conditions but under favorable conditions it is completed in 7-8 days. Young adults are very delicate and have a bright yellow color without any spots. The adult removes its body from the pupal case and then rests on it as its elytra and wings are very delicate and can be easily attacked by enemies. The body’s mechanisms come into action and after a few hours spots appear on the elytra and it begins to harden. After the appearance of spots and hardening of the elytra, adults begin to feed on the leaves of the industrial plant. Adults have full sexual development in about 10 days and then begin to mate and the lives of children continue again. Adults are also known to hibernate during the winter under fallen leaves or other shelters and do not reproduce but with the arrival of favorable conditions reproduction resumes.

They are distributed throughout the world but are believed to have originated in the Far East of Russia. Their range extends throughout India, Pakistan, China, Japan, Southeast Asia and Oceania. In 2010 hadda beetles were also collected from New Zealand. The total damage caused by insect beetles varies according to regions and can reach up to 25%. Many pest control programs are operating throughout the affected areas to eradicate them. A study conducted by Maurice and Kumar in 2011 found a preferred host plant for this beetle. They have recorded the oviposition as well as the growth of the hadda beetle on a weed, Coccinia grandis and have concluded that weed can be used as trap plants in order to save economically important crops.

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