This tool is part of the Citrus Resource

Citrus Pests


Leaf-footed bug


Scientific name


Leptoglossus species (Hemiptera: Coreidae)

Other common names


The species of interest that we are including are:

citron bug, L. gonagra

leaf-footed bug, L. phyllopus

leaf-footed plant bug, L. australis

western leaf-footed bug, L. zonatus

Similar species


other leaf-footed bugs, Leptoglossus spp.



United States

  • citron bug, L. gonagra - southern United States including Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Missouri. Also found in Hawaii.
  • leaf-footed bug, L. phyllopus - widespread with the exception of the extreme northeastern and northwestern states.
  • leaf-footed plant bug, L. australis - not known to occur in the United States
  • western leaf-footed bug, L. zonatus - Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas.


  • citron bug, L. gonagra - Cape Verde Islands, the Caribbean, Central America, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Pacific Islands, Papau New Guinea, and South America.
  • leaf-footed bug, L. phyllopus - Central America, Mexico, and South America.
  • leaf-footed plant bug, L. australis - Africa, India, Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and South Pacific Islands.
  • western leaf-footed bug, L. zonatus - Central America, South America.

Native Range

  • citron bug, L. gonagra - not reported.
  • leaf-footed bug, L. phyllopus is native to the southern United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America.
  • leaf-footed plant bug, L. australis is native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa, India, Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, and South Pacific Islands.
  • western leaf-footed bug, L. zonatus is native to the southwestern United States, Central America, and the northern half of South America.

Diagnostic characteristics

  • 20 mm (0.79 in.) in length.
  • Dark brown to black.
  • Wings lay flat and straight back.
  • Antennae have 4 segments.
  • Four-segmented piercing-sucking beak (rostrum).
  • Males have enlarged, flattened leg segments above their 3-segmented feet (tarsi). The hind leg segments (tibiae) appear leaf-like.
  • Leathery forewings in many species bear a white or pale yellow stripe, zigzag, or series of dots.

Citron bug, L. gonagra - yellow edge on the front margin of the middle body segment (thorax); even, longitudinal yellow stripes on the underside of the abdomen.

Leaf-footed bug, L. phyllopus - distinctive, broad, white band straight across the rear of the forewings; top of the abdomen has various amounts of orange coloration noticeable when wings are raised.

Leaf-footed plant bug, L. australis - distinctive reddish-orange or yellow curved band on the anterior of the pronotum; somewhat elongate body; head is shorter and narrower than the pronotum.

Western leaf-footed bug, L. zonatus - two large whitish-yellow spots on the front of the top middle body segment (pronotum); broad, white band containing a zigzag pattern transversely across the forewings.

  • Five nymphal instars.
  • The shape resembles adults, but the leaf-like tibiae do not appear until nearly mature.
  • Color varies with species.

Citron bug, L. gonagra - bright red early instars with black appendages; last two instars are dull brown.

Leaf-footed bug, L. phyllopus - reddish with black appendages.

Leaf-footed plant bug, L. australis - reddish early instars and distinctive leaf-like hind tibiae appear in the third instar. Fourth instars develop yellow and black markings, and the fifth instar is dark brown to black.

Western leaf-footed bug, L. zonatus - red with black appendages.



Citron bug, L. gonagra - 1.4 mm (less than 0.1 in.) long; bright green initially; turns brown during incubation.

Leaf-footed bug, L. phyllopus - 1.8 mm (less than 0.1 in.) long; golden brown.

Leaf-footed plant bug, L. australis - 1.8 mm (less than 0.1 in.) long; pale brown.

Western leaf-footed bug, L. zonatus - 1.47 mm (less than 0.1 in.) long; bright green initially; turns brown during incubation.


Citrus hosts

Citron bug, L. gonagra

  • citron, Citrus medica
  • common mandarins (including clementine and tangerine), Citrus reticulata
  • sweet orange, Citrus sinensis

Leaf-footed bug, L. phyllopus

  • common mandarins (including clementine and tangerine), Citrus reticulata
  • satsuma Mandarin, Citrus unshiu
  • sweet orange, Citrus sinensis

Leaf-footed plant bug, L. australis

  • Potentially all Citrus species and their hybrids.

Western leaf-footed bug, L. zonatus

  • grapefruit, Citrus paradisi
  • Mexican (or Key) lime, Citrus aurantifolia
  • sweet orange, Citrus sinensis
Non-citrus hosts

The genus Leptoglossus is polyphagous and attacks many weeds as well as economically-important crops. A partial list of host plants for each species of interest is included below.

Citron bug, L. gonagra

  • bitter gourd, Momordica charantia
  • Brazillian guava, Psidium guineense
  • guava, Psidium guajava
  • passion fruit, Passiflora edulis
  • pomegranate, Punica granatum
  • pumpkin, Cucurbita maxima

Leaf-footed bug, L. phyllopus

  • annual sowthistle, Sonchus oleraceus
  • apple, Malus domestica
  • beggarweed, Desmodium tortuosum
  • crepe myrtle, Lagerstroemia indica
  • Crotalaria spp.
  • elderberry, Sambucus canadensis
  • Gladiolus spp.
  • goldenrod, Solidago virgaurea
  • Hibiscus spp.
  • Ixora spp.
  • jimsonweed, Datura stramonium
  • Ligustrum spp.
  • oat, Avena sativa
  • pear, Pyrrus spp.
  • pecan, Carya illinoiensis
  • persimmon, Diospyros spp.
  • pomegranate, Punica granatum
  • Punica granatum (preferred)
  • thistle, Cirsium spp.
  • watermelon, Citrullus lanatus

Leaf-footed plant bug, L. australis-

  • bitter gourd, Momordica charantia
  • coffee, Coffea arabica
  • cashew, Anacardium occidentale
  • squash, Cucurbita spp.
  • granadilla, Adenia hondala
  • oil palm, Elaeis guineensis
  • passionfruit, Passiflora edulis
  • peanut or groundnut, Arachis hypogaea
  • rice, Oryza sativa
  • snake gourd, Trichosanthes cucumerina
  • sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas
  • Theobroma bicolor
  • yam, Dioscorea alata

Western leaf-footed bug, L. zonatus-

  • avocado, Persea americana
  • bean, Phaseolus vulgaris
  • bell pepper, Capsicum annuum
  • blackberry, Rubus spp.
  • blueberry, Vaccinium spp.
  • Chinese tallow, Tibulus terrestris
  • corn, Zea mays
  • cotton, Gossypium hirsutum
  • cowpea, Vigna unguiculata
  • eggplant, Solanum melongena
  • loquat, Eriobotrya japonica
  • lychee, Litchi chinensis
  • melon, Cucumis spp.
  • okra, Abelmoschus esculentus
  • peach, Prunus persica
  • plum, Prunus spp.
  • pomegranate, Punica granatum
  • sorghum, Sorghum spp.
  • spiny thistle, Cirsium horridulum
  • squash, Cucurbita spp.
  • sunflower, Helianthus annuus
  • tomato, Solanum esculentum (preferred)

Host damage

  • Color changes or spotting, collapsed pulp, empty seeds, or dark hardening at feeding sites.
  • May cause the fruit be deformed or drop.


  • Browning and withering of stems.



Eggs are deposited in single rows on foliage or stem tissue and hatch in 5 - 7 days. Nymphs develop through five instars in 25 - 30 days. These insects overwinter as adults. Leaf-footed bugs have a habit of aggregating into large colonies; one tree may be swarming with them while a neighboring tree is entirely free of infestation. Adults have scent glands and when they are disturbed can emit a distinctive, sharp odor. Early instars are believed to have a preference for wild hosts. Most often, it is the adults that attack ripening fruit.



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Eberling, W. 1959. Subtropical fruit pests. University of California, Division of Agriculture Sciences.

Henne, D.C., and S.J. Johnson. 2003. Pest status of leaf-footed bugs (Heteroptera: Coreidae) on Citrus in Louisiana. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 116: 240-241. (

Hill, D.S. 2008. Pests of crops in warmer climates and their control. Springer Publishing.

McPherson, J.E., R.J. Packauskas, S.J. Taylor, and M.F. O'Brien. 1990. Eastern range extension of Leptoglossus occidentalis with a key to Leptoglossus species of America north of Mexico (Heteroptera: Coreidae). The Great Lakes Entomologist 23: 99-104. (

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Mead, F.W. 2007. Featured creatures fact sheet: Leaffooted bug, Leptoglossus (=Theognis) phyllopus (Linnaeus) (Insecta: Hemiptera: Coreidae). Publication EENY-72. University of Florida.

Meagher, R. Citrus pests and their management: Coreidae, 2nd. ed. Pp. 891. In J. L. Capinera. Encyclopedia of entomology. Vol. 3. Springer Publishing.

Reuther, W. 1989. Citrus Industry: crop protection, postharvest technology and early history of citrus research in California, Vol. 5. University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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Martin, K.W., J.A. Weeks, A.C. Hodges, and N.C. Leppla


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012