Subject: Identifying bug on tomato leaf
Geographic location of the bug: Manassas, Va 20112
Time: 12:44 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: I found several of these bugs eating tiny holes in the leaves of my tomato plants! I’ve never seen them before. Usually we have hornworms, but never these! They seem to use that brown stuff as cover to hide when threatened. They raise it up and cover themselves with it. Google was NO help.
How you want your letter signed: Christina
This is the larva of a Tortoise Beetle and it is carrying its own feces which it uses as camouflage. We believe it might be a Clavate Tortoise Beetle larva, which is pictured on BugGuide. According to BugGuide, this species feeds on the leaves of: “ground-cherries (Physalis), Jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), and Solanum spp. (Solanaceae)” and this is the plant family that includes tomatoes.