Aspidimorpha (Megaspidomorpha) angolensis Weise (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae): a potential new pest of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) in South Africa

  • Zakheleni Palane DubeEmail author
  • Diedrich Visser
  • Elizabeth Grobbelaar
Short Communication


Six tortoise beetle species from the genus Aspidimorpha have been recorded feeding on sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) in South Africa. All these species are reported to have little impact on the crop and have a low pest status. However, another species has recently been observed, causing over 90% leaf damage to crops in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The objective of the study was to use morphological and molecular techniques to identify this new tortoise beetle. All life stages of the beetle were collected, and examination of these specimens revealed that the adults and larvae corresponded with the morphological descriptions of Aspidimorpha (Megaspidomorpha) angolensis Weise. The mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene was used for possible molecular identification. No matching nucleotide sequences were found for A. (M.) angolensis in the databases of either the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) or the barcode of life data systems; hence, they could not be used in the characterisation of the beetle. The nucleotide sequences produced were deposited at NCBI for future use. Existing information suggests that A. (M.) angolensis is a new pest of sweet potato and its aggressive feeding warrants the speedy development of management strategies. These should include investigations into biological control options, e.g. natural enemies, as well as the efficacy of insecticides for possible future registration.


Cassidinae Climate change Leaf beetle Pest outbreak Vegetable pests 



We thank W.P. Strümpher for constructive comments on the first drafts of the manuscript, regarding aspects concerning the molecular analyses conducted.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights

The article does not contain any human and animal rights.


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Phytomedizinische Gesellschaft 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zakheleni Palane Dube
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Diedrich Visser
    • 3
  • Elizabeth Grobbelaar
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Biology and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MpumalangaMbombelaSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Plant Production, Soil Science and Agricultural EngineeringUniversity of LimpopoSovengaSouth Africa
  3. 3.Vegetable and Ornamental PlantsAgricultural Research CouncilPretoriaSouth Africa
  4. 4.Plant Protection ResearchAgricultural Research CouncilQueenswood, PretoriaSouth Africa

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