Species name

Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte 1868: 59


Common name

Western corn rootworm


Type locality

"Fort Wallace"


Type depository

MCZ, lectotype, female, verified



filicornis Horn, 1893: 94 (type locality: New Mexico; type depository: ANSP, holotype, male) (Smith and Lawrence, 1967).



Body length 4.6-5.9. Body width 2.1-2.7. Head basic coloration from chestnut brown to black, frons yellow ocher, vertex chestnut, clypeus black or chestnut, labrum black or chestnut. Antennae filiform, uniformly brussels brown. Pronotum yellow or sulphur yellow, deeply bifoveate. Scutellum black or amber brown. Elytra green, vittate, with one sutural and one humeral vittae (often expanding to cover most of elytra), vittae black, humeral calli black, elytral epipleura completely green. Elytral surface with four distinct sinuate sulci, deepest behind humeral callus and extending beyond middle, humeral plicae distinct, sutural angle of elytra rounded, elytral punctation dense and coarse. Tarsi yellow or yellow ocher. Protibia bicolored, yellow, outer edge with piceous or testaceous line, or almost entirely darkened. Meso- and metatibia uniform black or chestnut. Femora bicolored, yellow or green, outer edge chestnut or piceous. Internal sac of aedeagus with four sclerites.


Known distribution

Canada, Southwestern USA (AZ, UT) Northwestern USA (ID, MT) Northeastern USA (DE, IN, KY, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA) Central USA (CO, IL, IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, NM, ND, OK, SD, TX, WV, WI, WY), Northern Mexico (Krysan et al., 1980; Krysan & Smith 1987a)


Host plants

Zea mays L., Setaria P.Beauv, Cucurbitaceae, was observed associated with flowers of Asteraceae, Brassicaceae, apple, tomato and others (Clark et al., 2004).


Potential problems with identification

Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte is most similar to another D. virgifera subspecies, D. v. zeae. The only feature that allows for distinguishing D. v. virgifera from D. v. zeae is distinct black humeral vittae on elytra of D. v. virgifera. In Texas and Northern Mexico, a transitional zone between two subspecies, it is impossible to separate them reliably. The internal sacs of the aedeagus of both subspecies are essentially the same. Diabrotica v. virgifera is also similar to D. longicornis (Say) and D. barberi Smith & Lawrence. They can be separated by the following features: femora of D. virgifera as a rule bicolored with dark, chestnut or piceous, outer edge, while in D. longicornis and D. barberi femora unicolorous green or flavous; distance from apex to ventral flange of aedeagus in D. v. virgifera is 1.5 - 2.0 times that of D. longicornis and D. barberi. The shape of the internal sac sclerites (especially sclerite 4B) differentiates all three species well.