Unidentified armored insect.
I just spent half an hour or so looking over your site. It is really a great resouce. Most of the time I put the univerity level entomology courses to work and identifiy my own finds, but since my primary goal is to get a good photo rather than collect, kill and key out these days I was unable to (excuse the expression) pin this one down. This well armored and prickley insect was found in the folds of a Canada Thistle. Just as a guess I would guess some sort of hemipteran – but I defer to your expertise on this one. The location is Grand Island, New York – an island in the middle of the Niagara River. If interested, other fauna and flora photos from the island may be viewed at: http://www.isledegrande.com/naturepage04-v2.htm
Your time in looking at this one and replying is most appreciated. If you can use the image on your site, please feel free to.
Before we even venture a guess, we want to contact our favorite expert, Eric Eaton. Meanwhile we will post your image and see if we get any other responses. Eric Eaton responded with this information: ” Looks like that spiny thing is the pupa of a tortoise beetle. The larvae look very similar, but carry an umbrella of dried feces on those forked tail-like appendages. Eric”