The Colorado potato beetle is native to Mexico. It was first recorded in the United States in 1811, feeding on a native plant, buffalo bur (Solanum rostratum) near the Iowa/Nebraska border. It was first reported as a pest on potato in Nebraska in 1859. The expansion of its host range to include potato allowed the beetle to spread rapidly eastward, moving among farm and garden plantings of potato. By 1874, it had expanded its geographic range to the East Coast of the United States. The potato beetle now occurs in North America throughout Mexico, the United States, and Canada, except
California, Nevada, and the coastal area of the Pacific Northwest, between 15 and 55° N latitude. It was accidentally introduced into France in 1922 and subsequently spread throughout Europe (except Great Britain) and the former Soviet Union; it now occurs in China, Greece, Turkey, and northern Iran.
The host range of the Colorado potato beetle is largely restricted to plants in the genus Solanum but includes some plants, such as tomato (Lycopersicon), in related genera. Although geographically isolated potato beetle populations vary in their ability to utilize particular plant species as hosts, potato is the preferred host for most populations.
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