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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 14

The Hop Flea (Or Beetle). Haltica concinna

The Hop Flea (Or Beetle). Haltica concinna.

Fig. V. Haltica Concinna.

Fig. V. Haltica Concinna.

1 and 2 Hop Flea, nat. size and magnified; 3, hind leg, magnified, showing tooth.

This insect to ordinary observers closely resembles the turnip flea proper, Haltica nemorum. Under the microscope it will be seen that it differs considerably. Its colour is brassy, whereas page 22 the colour of its congener is dusky or black, and its wing cases are striped. They both have wonderful powers of jumping The former has a curious toothed formation of the tibia, or shank, with a set of spines, while the tibia of the turnip flea is without any curve. Curtis speaks of the Haltica concinna as infesting hop plantations. Taschenberg also alludes to its eating the leaves of hop plants in Germany. Harris gives an account of several species of Haltica in America as destructive to crops, but he does not mention this particular species.

In some seasons, more especially when the hop plants are backward and are kept back by cold unkindly weather, these fleas or beetles do infinite harm to them by eating the leaves and making many holes in them with strong jaws furnished with double sets of teeth, and made purposely for biting out and masticating leaf tissue. They also much injure the leaves, and thereby weakening the plants by the larvæ burrowing in the parenchyma or cellular tissue of the leaves. They follow the bines as they grow, but it rarely happens that they are able to do much harm after the plants have really made a good start in favourable climatic conditions.