Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Zygogramma bicolorata
(Mexican beetle)



Zygogramma bicolorata (Mexican beetle)


  • Last modified
  • 16 November 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Zygogramma bicolorata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Mexican beetle
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister, 1953

Preferred Common Name

  • Mexican beetle

International Common Names

  • English: beetle, Mexican; beetle, Parthenium leaf; beetle, variegated leaf; Parthenium leaf beetle; variegated leaf beetle

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Coleoptera
  •                         Family: Chrysomelidae
  •                             Genus: Zygogramma
  •                                 Species: Zygogramma bicolorata

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


IndiaPresentIIHR, 1991; Jayanth, 1993
-Andhra PradeshPresentJayanth, 1993; Singh, 1997
-DelhiPresentGautam et al., 2007
-Himachal PradeshPresentGupta and Anil, 2002
-Jammu and KashmirPresentGautam et al., 2006
-KarnatakaIntroduced, establishedIIHR, 1991; Singh, 1997
-KeralaIntroduced, establishedSingh, 1997
-Madhya PradeshPresentGautam et al., 2006
-MaharashtraIntroduced, establishedSingh, 1997
-Tamil NaduIntroduced, establishedIIHR, 1991; Singh, 1997
-Uttar PradeshPresentDhiman and Bhargawa, 2005
-UttarakhandPresentPandey et al., 2001

North America

MexicoPresentMcClay, 1981a; Pallister, 1953; McClay, 1980; Tejada et al., 1986


AustraliaIntroduced, establishedMcClay, 1981a; McFadyen 1981b, Parsons & Cuthbertson; McFadyen, 1992
-Australian Northern TerritoryPresent
-New South WalesIntroduced, establishedParsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
-QueenslandIntroduced, establishedMcClay, 1981b; McFadyen, 1981b

Habitat List

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Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Vegetative growing stage

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Leaves / external feeding
Whole plant / dwarfing

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Metarhizium anisopliae Pathogen


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Annadurai RS, 1990. Reproductive potential in terms of quantitative food utilization of Zygogramma bicolorata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) on Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae). Proceedings of the VIII International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds. Rome, Italy: Instituto Sperimentale per la Patologia Vegetale, Ministero dell'Agricoltura e delle Foreste, 385-394.

Arnett RH, 1973. The Beetles of the United States (A manual for identification). Second edition. Michigan, USA: American Entomological Institute.

Bechyné J, 1952. Supplement to the catalogues of Blackwelder and Junk-Schenkling on the Neotropical Chrysomelidae (Col. Phytophaga). Entomologische Arbeiten aus dem Museum George Frey, 3(1):1-62.

Chakravarthy AK; Bhat NS, 1994. The beetle (Zygogramma conjuncta Rogers), an agent for the biological control of weed, Parthenium hysterophorus L. in India feeds on sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). Journal of Oilseeds Research, 11(1):122-125.

Cox ML, 1996. The pupae of Chrysomeloidea. In: Jolivet P, Cox ML, eds. The Biology of Chrysomelidae. Amsterdam, Netherlands: SPB Academic Publishing.

Dhiman SC; Bhargawa ML, 2005. Biology and population dynamics of Zygogramma bicolorata Pall.: a biocontrol agent of Parthenium hysterophorus Linn. Journal of Applied Zoological Researches, 16(1):41-43.

Gautam RD; Khan MA; Garg AK, 2006. Ecological adaptability and variations among population of Mexican beetle, Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister (Chrysomelidae: Coleoptera). Journal of Entomological Research, 30(1):21-23.

Gautam RD; Khan MA; Gautam CPN, 2007. Population dynamics of Mexican beetle, Zygogramma bicolorata pallister. Annals of Plant Protection Sciences, 15(2):325-328.

Goeden RD, 1983. Critique and revision of Harris' scoring system for selection of insect agents in biological control of weeds. Protection Ecology, 5(4):287-301

Gupta PR; Anil Sood, 2002. Spread of Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister in Himachal Pradesh. Insect Environment, 8(3):101-102.

ICAR, 1995. Studies on the pest potential of the Mexican beetle Zygogramma bicolorata introduced for biocontrol of Parthenium. ICAR Adhoc Project. Half Yearly Report, June 1995 - November 1995. India: ICAR.

IIHR, 1991. Biological Control of Parthenium using Mexican Beetle. Extension folder. Bangalore, India: Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, 8:1-6.

Jayanth KP, 1987. Introduction and establishment of Zygogramma bicolorata on Parthenium hysterophorus at Bangalore, India. Current Science, 56:310-311.

Jayanth KP, 1993. Ecological impact of insects introduced for biological control of weeds - conflicting interests. Current Science, 65(12):901, 903-905

Jayanth KP; Bali G, 1992. Estimation of number of generations of the Mexican beetle, Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) by measurement of thermal units. Journal of Entomological Research, 16(4):273-276

Jayanth KP; Bali G, 1993a. Temperature tolerance of Zygogramma bicolorata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) introduced for biological control of Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae) in India. Journal of Entomological Research, 17(1):27-34

Jayanth KP; Bali G, 1993b. Diapause behaviour of Zygogramma bicolorata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a biological control agent for Parthenium hysterophorus (Asteraceae), in Bangalore, India. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 83(3):383-388

Jayanth KP; Bali G, 1993c. Biological studies on Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), a potential biocontrol agent of Parthenium hysterophorus L. (Asteraceae). Journal of Biological Control, 7(2):93-98.

Jayanth KP; Bali G, 1994a. Life table of the parthenium beetle, Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) in Bangalore, India. Insect Science and its Application, 15(1):19-23

Jayanth KP; Geetha Bali, 1994. Biological control of Parthenium hysterophorus by the beetle Zygogramma bicolorata in India. FAO Plant Protection Bulletin, 42(4):207-213; 23 ref.

Jayanth KP; Geetha Bali, 1996. Effect of continuous laboratory rearing on the fecundity, longevity and sex ratio of the Parthenium beetle, Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Journal of Entomological Research, 20(2):151-156; 8 ref.

Jayanth KP; Mohandas S; Asokan R; Visalakshy PNG, 1993. Parthenium pollen induced feeding by Zygogramma bicolorata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) on sunflower (Helianthus annuus) (Compositae). Bulletin of Entomological Research, 83(4):595-598

Jayanth KP; Nagarkatti S, 1987. Investigations on the host-specificity and damage potential of Zygogramma bicolorata Pallister (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) introduced into India for the biological control of Parthenium hysterophorus. Entomon, 12(2):141-145

Julien MH, 1992. Biological Control of Weeds: a World Catalogue of Agents and their Target Weeds. Wallingford, UK: CAB International.

Kayanth KP; Visalakshy PNG; Ghosh SK; Malvika Chaudhary, 1996. An indigenous parasitoid on the parthenium beetle Zygogramma bicolorata. Insect Environment, 2(3):67-68; 2 ref.

Kovalev OV; Medvedev LN, 1983. Theoretical bases of the introduction of ambrosia leaf-cutters of the genus Zygogramma Chevr. (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) into the USSR for the biological control of ambrosia. Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie, 62(1):17-32

McClay AS, 1980. Preliminary report on the biology and host-specificity of Zygogramma sp. near Malvae Stsl (Col., Chrysomelidae), a potential biocontrol agent for Parthenium hysterophorus L. Unpublished mimeographed report, CIBC Mexican sub-station, Monterrey, Mexico.

McClay AS, 1981. Studies of some potential biocontrol agents for Parthenium hysterophorus in Mexico. Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds. Australia: CSIRO, 471-482.

McClay AS, 1981. Studies of the natural enemies of Parthenium hysterophorus. Trinidad and Tobago, Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control: Report of work carried out April 1980 - March 1981. Slough, UK: CABI, 62-63.

McClay AS, 1985. Biocontrol agents for Parthenium hysterophorus from Mexico. Proceedings of the VI International Symposium on Biological Control of Weeds Ottawa, Canada; Agriculture Canada, 771-778

McFadyen RC, 1980. Host specificity of the Parthenium leaf beetle, Zygogramma sp. nr. malvae Stsl from Mexico, a potential biocontrol agent against Parthenium hysterophorus in Queensland. Queensland, Australia: Queensland Department of Lands, 1-8.

McFadyen RC, 1981a. Report on additional host-specificity tests with Zygogramma sp. nr. malvae Stsl. Australia: Queensland Department of Lands.

McFadyen RC, 1981b. A Mexican invasion. News Bulletin. Entomological Society of Queensland, 8:98-99.

McFadyen RC, 1985. The biological control programme against Parthenium hysterophorus in Queensland. In: Delfosse ES, ed. Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on the Biological Control of Weeds, Vancouver, Canada. Canada: Agriculture Canada, 789-796.

McFadyen RC, 1992. Biological control against parthenium weed in Australia. Crop Protection, 11(5):400-407

McFadyen RE, 1994. The parthenium leaf beetle Zygogramma bicolorata in Central Queensland. Unpublished Internal Report. Australia: Queensland Department of Lands.

McFadyen RE; McClay AS, 1981. Two new insects for the biological control of parthenium weed in Queensland. Proceedings of the Sixth Australian Weeds Conference, 1981, Volume 1:145-149.

Narendra KV, 1992. The Beetle Blunder. Bangalore, India: Centre for Science and Technology.

Pallister JC, 1953. The leaf beetles of North Central Mexico collected on the David Rockefeller Mexican Expedition (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae). American Museum Novitates, 1623:1-95.

Pandey S; Joshi BD; Tiwari LD, 2001. The incidence and biology of Mexican beetle, Zygogramma bichlorata Pallister (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) on Parthenium histerophorus L. (Asteraceae) from Haridwar and surrounding areas. Journal of Entomological Research, 25(2):145-149.

Parsons WT; Cuthbertson EG, 1992. Noxious Weeds of Australia. Melbourne, Australia: Inkata Press, 692 pp.

Singh SP, 1997. Perspectives in biological control of parthenium in India. In: Mahadevappa M, Patil VC, eds. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Parthenium Management, Dharwad, India, 6-9 October 1997. Dharwad, India: University of Agricultural Sciences, 22-32.

Sridhar S, 1991. Mexican beetle: cure no more, sunflower under attack. Frontline, November. Madras, India: 100.

Tejada LO; McClay A; Reyes Gandara S, 1986. Biology of Zygogramma bicolorata (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) as a possible agent for biological control of the weed Parthenium hysterophorus L. (Compositp). Informe de Investigacion, Division de Ciencias Agropecuarias y Maritimas, Instituto Technologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Mexico, 19:24-25.

Towers GHN; Subba Rao PV, 1992. Impact of the pan-tropical weed, Parthenium hysterophorus L. on human affairs. In: Richardson RG, ed. Proceedings of the 1st International Weed Control Congress, Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne, Australia: Weed Science Society of Victoria, 134-138.

Wilcox JA, 1972. A review of the North American Chrysomeline leaf beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Bulletin, New York State Museum and Science Service, No. 421.

Distribution Maps

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