Essential Facts About the Tortoise Beetle: What You Need to Know

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Meet the fascinating tortoise beetle! These tiny creatures might remind you of miniature turtles due to their unique appearance. Found in various parts of the world, they are an interesting species to learn about.

Tortoise beetles are often discovered on plants from the Convolvulaceae family, such as morning glories and bindweeds, as well as the Solanaceae family, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and peppers. Their presence in home gardens is typically minimal, making their feeding habits primarily cosmetic.

As you delve into the world of tortoise beetles, you’ll uncover intriguing aspects, from their distinctive morphology to their larvae’s behavior. Stay tuned as we explore the little-known features of these charming insects.

Understanding Tortoise Beetles

Tortoise beetles belong to the leaf beetle family, Chrysomelidae, and are classified under the subfamily Cassidinae. Their name is derived from their unique physical appearance that resembles miniature turtles, with a dome-shaped body and a skirt-like edge. They can be quite colorful and are truly fascinating creatures.

When you’re trying to identify a tortoise beetle, pay attention to its size and color. Adult tortoise beetles can vary in adult size, but they’re generally small. Besides, their coloration can change depending on their environment or as a response to disturbances. This color change is due to an optical illusion created by a combination of structural and pigmented coloration.

Here are some key features of tortoise beetles:

  • Dome-shaped body
  • Skirt-like edge around the body
  • Vary in size and color
  • Part of the Chrysomelidae family
  • Subfamily: Cassidinae

One interesting fact about tortoise beetles is that they primarily feed on plants from the Convolvulaceae (morning glories, bindweeds) and Solanaceae (potatoes, jimsonweed, groundcherries, tomatoes, beans, and peppers) families. So, if you grow these plants, you might encounter these fascinating creatures in your garden!

Keep in mind that tortoise beetles are rarely found in high numbers, and their feeding is mostly cosmetic, which means they don’t pose a significant threat to your plants. Regardless, if you happen to find a tortoise beetle, take a moment to marvel at its unique appearance before you decide what to do with it.

The Life Cycle of a Tortoise Beetle

Tortoise beetles undergo a fascinating life cycle consisting of several stages. They start as eggs and eventually transform into adults. Let’s explore the stages of their life cycle in more detail.

Egg Stage

Tortoise beetles begin their life as eggs, usually laid on the underside of leaves. The female selects a suitable location, ensuring the leaves belong to a host plant to provide food for the larvae once hatched.

Larval Stage

Once the eggs hatch, the larvae emerge. They have a flat, oval-shaped body similar to their adults but with a difference – they carry shed skins and feces on their back. This peculiarity serves as a camouflage, protecting them from predators.

During the larval stage, they feed on the foliage of various plants. Different tortoise beetle species have different preferred host plants. For example, some species feed on anacua in South Texas, while others might prefer sweet potatoes or related plants.

Pupal Stage

After multiple molts, the larvae eventually enter the pupal stage. They will attach themselves to a leaf or bark, form a protective casing, and undergo a metamorphic process. This is when they transform from a larva to an adult tortoise beetle.

Adult Tortoise Beetle

At the end of the pupal stage, adult tortoise beetles emerge, sporting magnificent colors and tiny dome-shaped bodies resembling tiny turtles. They will now search for mates to continue the cycle.

Adult tortoise beetles are also known for their unique feeding habits, as they feed primarily on foliage from the Convolvulaceae and Solanaceae families, including plants such as morning glories, beans, and tomatoes.

In summary, the life cycle of a tortoise beetle progresses from the egg stage, through the larval and pupal stages, and ultimately to adulthood. This fascinating process is just one reason these creatures captivate many nature enthusiasts.

Unique Characteristics of Tortoise Beetles

Tortoise beetles are fascinating insects with several distinctive features. In this section, you’ll learn about their unique characteristics, including their elytra, shield-like appearance, fecal shield, metallic colors, and more.

  • Elytra: The elytra are the hardened front wings that cover the abdomen and provide protection. Tortoise beetles have uniquely shaped elytra, giving them a shield-like appearance.
  • Shield-like appearance: Resembling miniature turtles, tortoise beetles have a dome-shaped body with an expanded outer edge. This shield provides protection from predators and the elements.
  • Fecal shield: A rather unusual defense mechanism, tortoise beetle larvae create a fecal shield from their own waste. This unappetizing shield deters predators from attacking them.
  • Metallic colors: Many tortoise beetle species exhibit metallic colors that can change depending on the angle of light and their mood. Some species can even alter their pigmentation to better blend with their surroundings.
  • Color layers and pigments: The vibrant colors of tortoise beetles come from the layers of pigments beneath their transparent elytra. These pigments help them blend into their environment for protection.

Tortoise beetles display a fascinating ability to roll up their edges when threatened. This behavior, coupled with their unique characteristics, makes them a captivating subject for nature enthusiasts.

Geographical Presence and Habitat

Tortoise beetles are fascinating creatures, and you might be curious about their geographical presence and habitat. These beetles can be found in various regions across the globe, including North America.

In North America, the Eucalyptus Tortoise Beetle is an introduced species from Australia. It made its way to California, and has since spread throughout regions where eucalyptus trees grow, as mentioned in this UC IPM article.

The habitat of tortoise beetles is closely tied to the plants they feed on. They are often found in grasslands, particularly on or near their host plants. Here are some general features of their preferred habitats:

  • Found on host plants, such as eucalyptus trees
  • Grasslands and open areas with low vegetation

It’s worth noting that the desert tortoise, although not a beetle, shares the habitat with some tortoise beetles and can be found in the deserts of southwestern United States, as described in this USGS article.

In conclusion, tortoise beetles have a diverse geographical distribution and can be found in various habitats, including grasslands and areas where their host plants are abundant.

The Role in the Ecosystem

Tortoise beetles play a significant role in their ecosystem. They are herbivores, feeding mainly on the foliage of plants in the Convolvulaceae and Solanaceae families, such as morning glories, bindweeds, potatoes, and tomatoes 1( This feeding behavior helps to control the growth of these plants.

As part of the food chain, tortoise beetles also serve as a food source for various predators. Some natural predators that help control tortoise beetle populations include:

  • Parasitic wasps: These insects lay their eggs inside the tortoise beetle larvae, eventually killing them.
  • Assassin bugs: These predatory insects attack and consume tortoise beetles.
  • Ladybugs: Known as beneficial insects, ladybugs feed on the eggs and young larvae of tortoise beetles.

The presence of these predators in the ecosystem helps maintain a balance and prevent tortoise beetles from causing excessive damage to their host plants. At the same time, the tortoise beetle’s feeding behavior provides a necessary check on the growth of specific plant species.

In conclusion, tortoise beetles are an essential part of the ecosystem due to their plant feeding habits and their role as a food source for various predators. Maintaining a balance of tortoise beetles and their predators is crucial for overall ecosystem health. Keep in mind the importance of preserving the habitats of these fascinating creatures.

Feeding Habits and Diet

Tortoise beetles are fascinating creatures with unique feeding habits. They primarily feed on plants, especially those considered weeds.

For example, they are known to prefer bindweeds, a type of weed. Another favorite food source for these leaf beetles is potato plants, which can become a concern for gardeners.

But don’t worry too much. They also have an appetite for cabbage, corn, and grass. This widespread diet helps control weed populations and occasionally benefits agriculture.

Here’s a comparison table of their feeding preferences:

Food Source Importance to Tortoise Beetle
Bindweeds High
Potatoes High
Cabbage Moderate
Corn Moderate
Grass Moderate

As you can see, tortoise beetles have a wide range of feeding preferences, covering many plants in your garden. By understanding their diet and feeding habits, you can better appreciate their fascinating lifestyle and their impact on the ecosystem.

Host Plants and Impact on Agriculture

Tortoise beetles are small insects that can be found in your garden. They can cause damage to a variety of host plants, such as raspberries, strawberries, milkweed, sweet potatoes, morning glories, and other plants in the Convolvulaceae family. Below are some impacts and features of tortoise beetles:

  • Their feeding mainly affects the appearance of the plants, as they leave holes in the leaves.
  • Infestations can occur when the population of tortoise beetles is high.

As a gardener, you should be aware of the following:

  • Tortoise beetles rarely cause severe damage, so control measures are usually not necessary.
  • Infestations are more likely to occur in home gardens and less frequently in agricultural settings.

Remember, while tortoise beetles can cause some damage to host plants, their impact is mainly cosmetic. It is essential to keep an eye on your garden and monitor for any signs of infestation. In case you spot these beetles, take the necessary measures to ensure the health of your plants.

Species of Tortoise Beetles

You might encounter various species of tortoise beetles across the globe. However, let’s focus on four well-known species, each exhibiting unique characteristics.

  • Charidotella Sexpunctata
  • Golden Tortoise Beetle
  • Clavate Tortoise Beetle
  • Hemisphaerota Cyanea

The Charidotella Sexpunctata, also known as the golden tortoise beetle, dazzles with its metallic appearance. Interestingly, this beetle can change color from gold to a dull reddish-brown and even green, a rare trait in beetles. You’ll typically find this beetle on morning glories and sweet potato plants.

In contrast, the Clavate Tortoise Beetle has a spiked appearance, making it easily distinguishable. This beetle feeds on Solanaceae family plants, such as tomatoes and peppers.

The Hemisphaerota Cyanea species is known as the blue tortoise beetle, owing to its striking blue color. You might encounter this beetle in southern Florida, where it enjoys feeding on the wax myrtle plant.

To better understand the differences between these tortoise beetle species, let’s review the following comparison table:

Species Appearance Habitat Host Plants
Charidotella Sexpunctata Metallic Gold Widespread in North America Morning glories, sweet potato plants
Golden Tortoise Beetle Gold, Reddish-Brown Eastern US, Canada, Central America Morning glories, bindweed
Clavate Tortoise Beetle Spiked Eastern US, Canada Tomatoes, peppers, ground cherries
Hemisphaerota Cyanea Blue Southern Florida Wax myrtle

While exploring these tortoise beetles, remember that their appearances and host plants might vary slightly across regions. So, it’s always exciting to discover new species or variations within your area.

Observing and Identifying Tortoise Beetles

Tortoise beetles are small, intriguing insects that look like miniature turtles. To spot them, you should pay close attention to plants in the Convolvulaceae family, such as morning glories and bindweeds, or the Solanaceae family, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, beans, and peppers (source).

When you’re trying to identify these beetles, examine their distinctive features:

  • Dome-shaped body resembling a turtle shell
  • Transparent and often metallic or iridescent colors
  • Legs and head tucked under the body, adding to their tortoise-like appearance

To help with identification, consider visiting, an invaluable online resource for insect enthusiasts. You can search through countless images and find a wealth of information on various species of tortoise beetles.

Now that you know what to look for, take some time to observe and appreciate the fascinating world of tortoise beetles. Remember to approach them gently, as they can be quite delicate. With a bit of patience, you’ll soon learn to recognize these tiny marvels of nature.

Dealing with Tortoise Beetle Infestations

To deal with tortoise beetle infestations, consider using biological control methods. These can be an effective and environmentally friendly option. Introducing natural enemies like damsel bugs, shield bugs, and ladybird beetles can help control tortoise beetle populations. They are known to feed on tortoise beetles, so, having them in your garden can keep infestations in check.

You might also want to try using insecticides when necessary. But beware of the possible harmful effects on beneficial insects and the environment. For example, some insecticides can be toxic to bees. Be sure to choose products specifically designed to target tortoise beetles so as to minimize potential harm. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective use.

Here’s a quick comparison table of the two main methods mentioned above:

Method Pros Cons
Biological Control Eco-friendly, can target specific pests May take time to establish populations
Insecticides Fast-acting, can provide immediate relief May harm beneficial insects, environment

Overall, an integrated approach using both biological control and insecticides (when needed) may be the most effective way to deal with tortoise beetle infestations. Make sure to monitor the situation regularly and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Interesting Research and Facts

Tortoise beetles are unique little insects that resemble miniature turtles. These fascinating beetles are known to inhabit gardens and are found on plants in the Convolvulaceae family, such as morning glories and bindweeds, as well as Solanaceae family plants like potatoes, jimsonweed, groundcherries, tomatoes, beans, and peppers 1.

  • Natural protection: These beetles have an array of defense mechanisms that help them to avoid predators. One such adaptation is their turtle-like carapace, which shields their soft bodies from harm 2.
  • Chemical deterrents: Tortoise beetles also have the ability to produce foul-smelling chemicals, which serve to deter potential predators from consuming them 3.

In recent years, researchers have been studying the behaviors and biology of these intriguing insects. Here are some interesting findings:

  • Substrate preferences: According to a study conducted by BugFan Heather and BugFan Tom4, tortoise beetle larvae have spines that look like those of other insects. However, despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, these beetles are not harmful to humans and are more focused on consuming plant matter.
  • Garden impacts: Though tortoise beetles may cause minor cosmetic damage to plants, they are rarely present in large enough numbers in home gardens to cause significant issues5. This means that, for the most part, you can enjoy their presence and appreciate their unique appearance without worrying about any major negative effects on your garden.

Overall, tortoise beetles are fascinating creatures that can be safely admired in your garden. So the next time you’re tending to your plants, keep an eye out for these mini turtle-like insects, and marvel at the wonders of the natural world.


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Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Tortoise Beetle Larva on curry in Malaysia: Silana farinosa

Strange Looking Bug Not Identified
February 21, 2010
Hello, I see this bug on the leaves of our curry leaf tree. It doesn’t seem to feed on other tree leaves. Just the curry leaf tree.

Tortoise Beetle Larva: Silana farinosa

Hi mei,
This is the larva of a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae, possibly a Tortoise Beetle.  Providing the name of the food plant, curry, should make the identification easier.  We found a Local Beetles’ Battles page of the Asian Entomology Collection and Studies website, that pictures a Tortoise Beetle, Aspidomorpha deusta, and the quote:
“IN 1994, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia entomologist Prof Mohamed S. Mohamedsaid noticed strange white beetles on curry leaf plants. Careful study revealed that the beetles came from a genus restricted to Sri Lanka where it is represented by one species, Silana farinosa, commonly known as the tortoise beetle.
‘The occurrence of Silana farinosa feeding on curry leaves in Malaysia is probably a very recent introduction. It has never been reported before in the country,’ he says.
‘Aspidomorpha deusta’ is a common tortoise beetle east of Java. This foreign species was found on a beach off Kapar, Selangor. —
‘It’s very unlikely that its presence would have gone unnoticed, for the host plant is also an important crop,’  he explains, adding that the leaves of the plant are an essential ingredient in Malaysian cooking, especially curries.
The taxonomist, who works with UKM’s Centre for Insect Systematics, reckons the creatures might have been feeding on dry curry leaves when they were unwittingly packed into someone’s luggage and brought into Malaysia from Sri Lanka.
‘They are real pests as these popular plants are endangered by them,’  he says, adding that the curry leaf plant had never before been attacked by insects as it emits a powerful smell.
More recently, another species of foreign tortoise beetle was found on our shores.
‘In all my years of studying beetles, which included combing the beaches of Malaysia for tortoise beetles, I have never encountered a specimen belonging to the species collected in March last year,’ he says.
According to Prof Mohamed, Aspidomorpha deusta is common from Java eastwards to Papua New Guinea and Australia.

We then found photos of larval Silana farinosa on the photomalaysia website, and they appear to match your photos.

Letter 2 – Tortoise Beetle from Brazil

Tortoise Beetle from Brazil
Tortoise Beetle from Brazil

Subject: Unidentified Beetle
Location: Iguacu, Brazil
October 20, 2014 5:47 am
I took this picture of an iridescent beetle at the Iguacu Falls in Brazil.
Can you please identify it.
Signature: Ian Rowlings

Dear Ian,
This is a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, and it is similar to this individual on Insetologia.  We located an image on FlickR of
Cyrtonota cyanea that looks like a very good match to your Tortoise Beetle.  We found an image of a mounted specimen on Cassidinae of the World, but dead specimens of Tortoise Beetles often lose their beautiful coloration.

Letter 3 – Antique, Victorian Brooch made with actual Tortoise Beetles

Subject: Scarab Victorian Brooch
Location: Oregon
January 15, 2013 5:09 pm
This brooch had four beetles on it, but one fell off. If you Google, ”green scarab beetle,” lots of pictures of this species come up for sale called, ”antique Victorian brooch.” One website,, has the best pictures I have seen where one commenter says it’s not a scarab, but rather, a tortoise beetle (Chrysomelidae). I am interested in your opinion, and whether or not you know if a replacement to fix my brooch is possible.
Signature: Jerry Burke

Antique Tortoise Beetle Brooch

Hi Jerry,
We agree 100% that these are not Scarab Beetles, but rather, that they are Leaf Beetles in the family Chrysomelidae, possibly Tortoise Beetles in the tribe Cassidini.  Here are some examples of North American species from BugGuide.  We have never seen this particular species, but we did find other examples online of Victorian jewelry made with these beetles which are incorrectly being called Scarabs, as well as some modern jewelry by Lito Karakostanoglou.  We will continue to research this matter.

After finding numerous examples of Victorian Jewelry made with these Leaf Beetles incorrectly identified as being Scarab Beetles, we finally found the Mid-19th Century Jewelry website with this image correctly identified as being earings made of Tortoise Beetles.  The Evolution website has a pair of earrings with the species identified as Desmonota variolosa with this information:  “Tortoise Beetle Earrings – Desmonota variolosa  The tortoise beetle is a member of the leaf beetle subfamily. These tortoise beetles have been mounted on a pair of sterling silver earrings. Their beautiful green sheen is sure to attract attention and open the wearer up to a host of compliments.”  You might want to consider ordering a pair of earrings from Evolution and having a jeweler replace the missing Tortoise Beetle in your brooch.  According to Encyclopedia Britannica:  “The pits and grooves covering the South American leaf beetle Desmonota variolosa give it an iridescent green colour with depth resembling that of an emerald.”  There is a nice image of these beetles in the Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery Collections website.  We have given up hunting for a photo online of a living Desmonota variolosa, but we just thought of a new search idea.

We did find a similar looking red Tortoise Beetle from Costa Rica on the Nature Closeups website that is identified as being in the genus Spaethiella.  We also found a gorgeous blue and red Tortoise Beetle from the Amazon on Green Tracks News identified as being in the genus Eugenysa.  Alas, we could not find any images of living Desmonota variolosa.  If any of our readers get lucky enough to find a photo of a living specimen of Desmonota variolosa, please comment on this posting.

Letter 4 – Gold Bug is Tortoise Beetle

Subject: Can you help me?
Location: Pennsylvania , USA
May 11, 2013 2:30 pm
I found this bug on my door outside and I never seen a gold bug before. Can you tell me what type it is?
Signature: Tom R.

Tortoise Beetle
Tortoise Beetle

Hi Tom,
This beautiful insect that looks like a drop of gold paint is a Golden Tortoise Beetle,
Charidotella sexpunctata, and it feeds on the leaves of morning glories and other plants in the family Convolvulaceae.  Golden Tortoise Beetles are capable of changing colors, and much to the dismay of insect collectors, they lose their lovely golden color after death.  See Bugguide for additional information on the Golden Tortoise Beetle.

Letter 5 – Mottled Tortoise Beetle

Subject: Space Bug
Location: Sherman, Texas
July 26, 2016 11:27 am
What is this lovely little guy? He looks like he has dropped in from outer space or a 70s disco party. Will he be staying for dinner? If so, which of my pants will be served up?
Signature: Grammy Gardener.

Mottled Tortoise Beetle
Mottled Tortoise Beetle

Dear Grammy Gardener,
This is a Mottled Tortoise Beetle,
Deloyala guttata, and you can verify our ID on BugGuide.  Adults and larvae both feed on leaves of morning glories.

Letter 6 – Tortoise Beetle Larvae and Imago from Malaysia

weird totally strange insect w over the top HAIR DO
February 7, 2011 1:59 pm
Signature: HEIDEN999

Tortoise Beetle Larvae

Dear HEIDEN999,
These are Tortoise Beetle Larvae in the tribe Cassidini.  Knowing the plant they were feeding upon might help to more easily identify the species.  We have not had any luck finding an exact match to your species, but there are many similar looking examples in our archives and on the web.

hi daniel,    thanks for the fast ID on my weird larvae.   so they are tortoise beetles hey ..well these beautiful tortoise beetles happen to be close by perhaps this is an adult???   I have sent an attached image.     it looks like they are feeding on the same type leaf.  could this be a match???   thanks,      gary heiden

Tortoise Beetle

Hi Gary,
Based on the information you have provided, we believe it is an excellent possibility that the adult Tortoise Beetle feeding on the same plant is the same species as the larvae.  We could not locate a match on the World’s Best Photos of Cassidinae Flickr Hive Mind website.

Letter 7 – Mottled Tortoise Beetle

Subject: beautiful tiny jewel bug
Location: north texas
August 22, 2015 12:13 pm
This little guy landed in our car today and let me take a few photos before flying away. I have never seen his kind before. Would love to put a name to his fabulousness
Signature: randi odom

Tortoise Beetle
Mottled Tortoise Beetle

Dear Randi,
We believe we have correctly identified your Tortoise Beetle as a Mottled Tortoise Beetle,
Deloyala guttata, based on images posted to BugGuide where it is described as:  “broadly oval; margins of pronotum and elytra clear or golden, elytra usually mottled black and yellow but can vary from completely orangish-yellow to completely black.”  Like other Tortoise Beetles, both adults and larvae feed on the leaves of morning glories and other plants in the family Convolvulaceae.

Letter 8 – Brazilian Leaf Beetle in English Insect Collection commonly used in Jewelry

Subject: School insect collection
Location: UK
June 22, 2015 5:45 am
I’m a biology technician at a 6th form school and have inherited a collection of animals/ plants/ insects that I’m slowly trying to identify. So far I have 1 in the insect section left to identify. Unfortunately I can’t give any details about where it came from or what it’s habits are like as they are all dead! All I know is they are currently in England and I believe are likely to have been caught here. I’m not even 100% certain they’re real, beetles are not my forte
Signature: Hannah

Leaf Beetle:  Desmonota variolosa
Leaf Beetle: Desmonota variolosa

Dear Hannah,
This Leaf Beetle, Desmonota variolosa, is native to Brazil, not England.  We first encountered this Leaf Beetle when we tried to identify the insects used in the making of an antique brooch, a common practice in Victorian times.  New jewelry is also available using these real beetles.   There are plenty of links on that posting to follow our original research.  You can also find a mounted specimen pictured on the Hunterian Museum & Art Gallery Collections site.

Leaf Beetle:  Desmonota variolosa
Leaf Beetle: Desmonota variolosa

Thank you so much, the girls will be so happy to finally know what it is and that it’s used in jewellery!

Letter 9 – Gold Bug: Golden Tortoise Beetle

This pretty lady came in with some black locust firewood this past xmas. Seems to more or less be a ladybug dipped in gold. Thanks
Elk Park N.C.

Dear Elk Park,
This is a Golden Tortoise Beetle, Charidotella sexpunctata, sometimes called a Gold Bug. Larvae and adults eat the leaves of Morning Glories.

Letter 10 – Geiger Tortoise Beetle from Grand Cayman

Gold/green transparant beetle
Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 9:46 AM
Hi Bugman,
I live in on Grand Cayman. Whilst volunteering for the Blue Iguanas at the Botanical Park last week, this beetle came out of the bucket of leaves we had collected. I can’t seem to find it on any websites so I need your help!! I have attached some photographs which should help with the ID. The transparent shell was over the wings (but split like a ladybird) and the inner half of this was coloured gold and green and speckled with blue. It had a 3rd part to the transparent shell which went over it’s head like a shield bug. The underside of it’s abdomen was also shiny. Total length maybe about 1 centimetre. It was quite happy walking around (trying to navigate my hairy arms!) but when my frined picked it up so we could get a photo of its underside it ‘crouched’ so it was very difficult to pick up.
I’ve attached some photos for you but have lots more (including one of it about to take off!) let me know if you would like to see some more.
Thanks! Emily
East End, Grand Cayman

Tortoise Beetle
Geiger Tortoise Beetle

Hi Emily,
This is some species of Tortoise Beetle. Tortoise Beetles are Leaf Beetles in the tribe Cassidini. The gorgeous metallic coloration vanishes after the insect dies, so mounted Tortoise Beetles in collections are not as beautiful as they are alive. Some Tortoise Beetles are called Gold Bugs.

Update: Monday, February 6, 2009
This looks like a tortoise beetle in the genus Eurypepla ( Chrysomelidae : Hispinae : Ischyrosonychini [=Physonotini]). It looks very much like E. calochroma, the Geiger Tortoise Beetle, varieties of which are found in south Florida and the Bahamas. Closely related species occur in Cuba (E. vitrea) and Jamaica (E. jamaicensis). Distribution information is very hard to find and it could be any of the above. Bugguide has some excellent images of the Geiger Tortoise Beetle, under the name Physonota calochroma. Apparently the generic placement of this species has been debated for a long time, but the current trend appears to lean toward Eurypepla. The Geiger Tortoise beetle is considered a mild pest in Florida where its preferred host is the Geiger Tree (Cordia sebestena). Regards.

Letter 11 – Geiger Tortoise Beetle

Subject:  Glitter Green Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Miami Florida
Date: 01/23/2019
Time: 10:54 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,  I found this beetle on a carambola(Star fruit) in my back lawn. It was almost transparent with glitters of green.
How you want your letter signed:  Tammy F

Geiger Tortoise Beetle

Dear Tammy,
This is a Tortoise Beetle, a member of the tribe Cassidini of the Leaf Beetle family.  We are confident it is the Geiger Tortoise Beetle,
Physonota calochroma floridensis, which is pictured on BugGuide, and is a subspecies confined to “Florida: from Palm Beach to Key West”.  According to BugGuide:  “live adults are brilliant lime green with a black spot in the middle of the pronotum; dead museum specimens are dull yellow to cream-colored – very different from live animals” and “feeds on the Geiger Tree (Cordia sebestena).”

Letter 12 – Golden Tortoise Beetle

Subject: Tortoise Beetle?
Location: Baltimore, MD
June 27, 2013 7:42 pm
I found this cute little guy on the side of my coffee mug. He looked like a drop of gold! I snapped a few photos, and when I scrolled in for a closer look I realized that the edges of his exoskeleton are actually translucent! Very beautiful insect!
Signature: Enchantedmama

Tortoise Beetle
Golden Tortoise Beetle

Dear Enchantedmama,
We have to admit that we were drawn to your submission because of your beguiling signature.  Thank you for submitting a wonderful photo of a Golden Tortoise Beetle,
 Charidotella sexpunctata. We hope you continue to be enchanted by the world of insects.

Letter 13 – Eggplant Tortoise Beetles

Eggplant tortoise beetles?!
January 25, 2010
Last summer I started finding these tortoise beetles in central Oklahoma. They are translucent green, about the size of a pea, and have a smooth “shell”. I think that they might be eggplant tortoise beetles, but I’m not sure. Thanks for the help.
Josh Kouri

Eggplant Tortoise Beetles

Hi Josh,
We believe you have correctly identified the Eggplant Tortoise Beetle, Gratiana pallidula, though your letter did not indicate the plant that the specimens were feeding upon.  Often a food plant is a critical factor in the correct identification of an insect.  According to BugGuide, the Eggplant Tortoise Beetle feeds upon “several species of Solanum (tomato family: Solanaceae).

Eggplant Tortoise Beetle

Sorry, I wasn’t sure what species of plant they were found on. I did some research on the Solanum family and was able to identify the plant the beetles were feeding on as  /Solanum elaeagnifolium, /the Silverleaf Nightshade. Hope that helps,

Thanks Josh,
That is consistent with the preferred host plants for the Eggplant Tortoise Beetle and tends to confirm the identification.

Letter 14 – Argus Tortoise Beetle

Subject: Unknown ladybug
Location: Middle Nebraska
June 11, 2015 10:36 pm
I’ve looked high and low, and then I looked low and high, and I can’t find an exact match to this ladybug, which is a little bit bigger than our usual Asian ladybug.
Signature: Sarah Lynn

Argus Tortoise Beetle
Argus Tortoise Beetle

Dear Sarah,
Though the markings resemble those of a Lady Beetle, your individual is actually an Argus Tortoise Beetle,
Chelymorpha cassidea, and you can compare your individual to this image on BugGuide.

Argus Tortoise Beetle
Argus Tortoise Beetle


Letter 15 – Argus Tortoise Beetle

Subject: Bug identification
Location: Kansas
April 3, 2016 6:49 pm
Found in wooded area in Kansas. Larger than Ladybug.
Signature: S.W.

Argus Tortoise Beetle
Argus Tortoise Beetle

Dear S.W.,
This is a really gorgeous image of an Argus Tortoise Beetle,
Chelymorpha cassidea, which we identified on BugGuide.  According to BugGuide:  “Eggs laid in clusters of 15-30 on leaves. Larvae feed on leaves, carry frass on back. Overwinters as adult.”

Letter 16 – Arizona Tortoise Beetle Larva

Subject: Arizona
Location: Tucson, Arizona
September 1, 2015 8:23 pm
Hi Bugman!
We live in Tucson and have had a lot of rain this year. We took the kids to the waterfalls at Tanque Verde and found a few of these odd bugs. They look like a cross between some kind of caterpillar and a scorpion (at least how the tail curls up?)
They were right near the shrubs by the water and some just on the rocks. I have been here 11 years and never come across these before- I am thinking its a larvae for something? Any ideas?
Signature: Lara

Arizona Tortoise Beetle Larva
Arizona Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Lara,
Five years ago, we had some difficulty trying to identify the Arizona Tortoise Beetle Larva,
Physonota arizonae, but now there are more images available online.  The shrub upon which you found them is most likely the Canyon Ragweed.  It is interesting that the images you provided show two projections at the tip of the abdomen, while our previously posted images show fecal droppings carried at the tip of the abdomen, so we presume the projections have adapted for that purpose, perhaps as camouflage or to make the larva less appetizing.  Many species of Tortoise Beetles have larvae that behave similarly.

Arizona Tortoise Beetle Larva
Arizona Tortoise Beetle Larva
Arizona Tortoise Beetle Larva
Arizona Tortoise Beetle Larva

Letter 17 – Australian Tortoise Beetle

Beetle on Citrus
Location: West Los Angeles, CA
April 19, 2011 2:54 am
I saw this beetle on a citrus shrub in my yard last month in West Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s about the size of a Ladybird Beetle.
Signature: Robert

Australian Tortoise Beetle

Hi Robert,
According to BugGuide, the Australian Tortoise Beetle or Eucalyptus Tortoise Beetle,
Trachymela sloanei, was:  “Introduced from Australia. First recorded in 1998 in California.”  BugGuide also indicates that it feeds on Eucalyptus, and there is no indication it feeds on citrus.  The County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner has an excellent pdf on this “new agricultural pest for Southern California.

Thank you so much for the ID on this beetle. It just so happens that we have two huge Eucalyptus trees in our yard. Somehow he found his way to the citrus.
Thanks again.

Letter 18 – Australian Tortoise Beetle: New California Agricultural Pest

Dear Bugman,
Your site is awesome–and so helpful! Glad I found it via a Google search…
My kids and I have had trouble id’ing the following insect that we found on my wife’s van last night. It looks like–and is exactly the same size as–a typical ladybug. We live in southern California.
Many thanks,

Hi Russ,
We didn’t recognize your Tortoise Beetle species, so we did some web searching. We located this site through the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner that states: “New Agricultural Pest for Southern California Australian Tortoise Beetle, Trachymela sloanei Introduction: In early February, 1998, Australian Tortoise Beetle (ATB), Trachymela sloanei , was detected for the first time in western Riverside County at a private residence containing acreage of Red gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus camaldulensis ). A specimen of the new beetle was noticed by the owner and taken to the Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, for identification. The find represents a new record not only for California but also for the New World. ” As the insect feeds on the leaves from a plant native to its own country and not southern California, it was inevitable that it would one day enter our closely guarded borders, following the Eucalyptus Tree Borer and other Australian insects that like the California climate where their host plants thrive without natural pests. It is said that eucalyptus trees are the commonest trees in southern California, but their numbers are dwindling due to the introduction of insect pests. Thank you for contributing this new species to our archive.

Letter 19 – “Complimentary” Tortoise Beetle from Peru

Subject: Beetle from Peru
Location: Central Peru
January 2, 2014 7:08 pm
Please help me to identify this beetle from the cloudforest in Peru (photo taken at about 1.200 m Elevation on the eastern slope of the Andes). Thank you!
Signature: Frank

Tortoise Beetle
Tortoise Beetle

Dear Frank,
We are in awe of the bold, complimentary colors of this stunning Tortoise Beetle in the subfamily Cassidinae and tribe Cassidini.  This Peruvian Amazon relative pictured on FlickR bears a resemblance and we would would not doubt they might both be in the genus
Eugenysa, or this individual also on FlickR and also from Peru and also tentatively in the genus Eugenysa.

Letter 20 – Costa Rican Tortoise Beetle

emerald Costa Rican beetle
I was wondering if you could help identify this beetle I found this month while trekking about in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. I’ve looked through your index of beetles and checked the bug guide and haven’t found a match. It kinda looks some sort of tortoise shell beetle. In the past your site has been a wonderful source for my insect hobbies. Thanks for your hard work. 🙂
Sarah D

Hi Sarah,
You are correct that this is a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, but we do not know the species. It sure is a pretty beetle.

Letter 21 – Feces Carrying Tortoise Beetle Larva

Subject: What is this bug?
Location: Clayton, NM, USA
July 21, 2017 5:42 pm
I found this bug on our property in town but in an area that just grows what ever but it is mowed.
it was found on the plant in pictures, in Clayton, New Mexico, USA I was just curious what it is as I have never seen one like it.
Signature: Ayla S.

Feces Carrying Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Ayla,
This appears to be a Tortoise Beetle Larva in the tribe Cassidini, similar to this Thistle Tortoise Beetle larva pictured on BugGuide, however we are not convinced that is your species because BugGuide data does not include any New Mexico sightings, though there are Colorado sightings.  The description of where they were found is consistent with the BugGuide habitat:  “weedy fields and waste places where food plants grow.”  BugGuide lists the food as “various Asteraceae, incl. thistle (
Carduus, Cirsium, Onopordum) and knapweed (Centaurea) spp.” and the leaves pictured in your image look to us like they belong to the aster family.  There are other members of the genus and we suspect their larvae look similar, but the most specific we are comfortable responding is that this is a Tortoise Beetle larva from the tribe Cassidini.

Letter 22 – Golden Tortoise Beetle

Can you help me identify this bug? I live in Texas, Fort Worth area. I never seen a ladybug with a clear cover and antennas bevor. Thank you very much
Erika Gossett.

Hi Erika,
Though your beetle looks like a Ladybird Beetle, it is actually a Golden Tortoise Beetle, Charidotella sexpunctata.

Letter 23 – Green Stink Bug Nymphs, Mottled Tortoise Beetle and Marbled Orbweaver from Canada

Subject: These bugs are everywhere!
Location: Vaudreuil-Soulanges, Quebec
August 9, 2012 8:59 pm
Hi there,
I’m a bug friendly person(no bug squishing in this house!)and always take the time to really check out and appreciate any bugs I have come across. Now that I have kids, they are really getting into bugs as well.
I’ve been out in the country for 13 years now and have never come across the bug in picture #1, however, this year they are literally everywhere… On the back deck, on the house, in the house, on shrubs, on the cars and garbage cans, etc…The other day my 8 year old son collected over 20 in under 10 minutes just in a small area around our back door. I went to check on my garden the other day and found a bunch on one of my corn stalks. I thought it might be some kind of stink bug because of the shape, but haven’t found a pic of one that matches. Also of all the ones we have collected and shoo-ed out of the house, none of them stank at all. What are they?
While I’m at it, I’ve attached 2 more bug pics that I would like ID’d. I found bug #2 crawling on a rock and was taken by it’s shiny gold green shell/markings.
Bug #3 is not a bug, but a spider. This fat guy has been living above my backdoor and seems to become active only at night. I thought it was some kind of orb weaver, but couldn’t find a match.
Thanks for any help!
Signature: Cindy

Green Stink Bug Nymphs

Hi Cindy,
Normally we do not like to include “bugs” from different categories in the same posting unless they have a distinctive relationship to one another, like predator and prey, however, all of your inquiries are either interesting, timely or unusual, so we are making an exception.  Additionally, all of your photos are quite nice.  The numerous insects are Stink Bug nymphs, and we have been receiving many identification requests for them in the past week.  Despite their black coloration, these are Green Stink Bug nymphs,
Chinavia hilaris, and you can compare your image to this photo from BugGuide.  Another common name for this species is Green Soldier Bug according to BugGuide which states they are:  “extremely polyphagous: recorded from 20 plant families(5); adults and older nymphs prefer developing seeds and fruit. May be a pest on soybean, cotton, fruit trees (esp. peach), and many vegetables.”

Mottled Tortoise Beetle

The green beetle is a Mottled Tortoise Beetle, Deloyala guttata, and according to BugGuide:  “larvae and adults feed on leaves of Convolvulaceae (morning glory family).”

Marbled Orbweaver

The spider is an Orbweaver, and we believe we have correctly identified it as a Marbled Orbweaver, Araneus marmoreus.  This is a highly variable species, but we located a matching photo of a white individual on BugGuide.  It was also found in Canada.

Thank you for the quick reply! The kids and I have enjoyed reading up on our new buggy friends. I’ll definitely be sending in a few more bug pics that I haven’t been able to ID, sometimes typing a general description into Google gets me hundreds of pages to go through, being stuck on dial-up certainly doesn’t help! Liked you guys on Facebook as well 🙂

Letter 24 – Leaf Beetle from Brazil

Subject: Coraliomela species
Location: Jaragua State Park, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
July 22, 2014 5:08 pm
Hi, Bugman! I was searching something I could send, it seems to me that you only have a single request of a Coraliomela leaf beetle. We call it “(falsa) barata-do-coqueiro (false) coconut-tree cockroach. It seems that the common name cockroach is because of the larval stage appearance.
I think it is most like <i>Coralimela aenoplagiata</i>.
Signature: Cesar Crash

Leaf Beetle
Leaf Beetle

Hi Cesar,
Thanks for sending us images of this unusual Leaf Beetle.  The images with your hands as scale are fascinating because we do not have North American Leaf Beetles that attain that size.  According to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) page, it is classified as a Tortoise Beetle in the subfamily Cassidinae.

Leaf Beetle
Leaf Beetle

Hi Daniel,
They’re Cassidinae, I don’t know if they can be called turtle beetles, because they’re in the old Hispinae.

Letter 25 – Tortoise Beetle from Australia

Subject: Pretty Beetle
Location: Ferntree Gully, Victoria, Australia
January 27, 2013 7:35 am
I found this very pretty looking beetle on a tree after a hike, my initial thinking is that it may be a form of ladybird or leaf beetle due to it’s shape, but I can’t seem to locate it or anything really close to it.
It has an almost pearl like sheen to it and the outer wing shells are clear at the bottom near its feet.
Anything you could do to help would be greatly appreciated.
Signature: Ian Melbourne

Tortoise Beetle

Dear Ian,
This is most definitely not a Lady Beetle, but we agree that it is a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae.  Though we could not find a match on the Brisbane Insect Website, it looks like it might be in the genus
Chrysophtharta, so it would be classified as a Tortoise Beetle in the subfamily Chrysomelinae.

Tortoise Beetle

Letter 26 – Leaf Beetle Larva from Taiwan, we suppose

Subject: Slug Caterpillar?
Location: Taiwan
December 16, 2014 7:13 am
I found this little creature 2 days ago, sitting quietly on a leaf in a park just outside of Taipei, Taiwan. It’s about one centimeter long, and it wasn’t moving; just sitting there minding its own business. A quick image search shows “slug moth” as a possible candidate, but I couldn’t find anything quite like it. Any ideas? Many thanks! 🙂
Signature: Robert

Leaf Beetle Larva, we believe
Leaf Beetle Larva, we believe

Dear Robert,
In our opinion, this is most likely a Leaf Beetle Larva, probably a Tortoise Beetle Larva in the subfamily Cassidinae and not a Slug Moth Caterpillar.
  It looks similar to this individual from Belize from FlickR as well as this individual from our archives.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for identifying my photo as belonging to a Tortoise Beetle larva! I think you were spot on, as I took the photo only 2 minutes after I photographed a Mottled Tortoise Beetle only a meter away. The larva is so eye-catching that I didn’t make the connection, but now I can clearly see that the black markings on the adult beetle wings mirror the black markings on the larva. I’ve attached photos that I took of each.
Kind regards,

Tortoise Beetle
Tortoise Beetle

Dear Robert,
Thanks so much for the update.  We cannot say for certain that the Tortoise Beetle and the larva are the same species, but their proximity to one another is a stronger indication than the similarity in the markings as adults often differ drastically in appearance from the larvae.

Letter 27 – Mating Spotted Tortoise Beetles from the Philippines

Golden tortoise beetle
Hi there!
I am from the Philippines and I love insect photography. These last couple of weeks, I have been taking photos of golden tortoise beetles. Some are here: in this set. I don’t know the exact name of this kind of tortoise beetle. Those spots on the edge of their shell make them different from these beetles: Could you help me find out the exact species name? Thanks in advance.
Best regards, Maria Jesusa Laakso

Hi Maria,
Your Tortoise Beetles are beautiful. There are certain species in the U.S. that are metallic in coloration and they are sometimes called Goldbugs. Tortoise Beetles belong to the tribe Cassidini. We located another image of your species on Flicker, but without a scientific name. One click away we identified Aspidomorpha miliaris on a Tortoise Beetle page. It is also called the Spotted Tortoise Beetle and the Fool’s Gold Beetle. It is great that you have also included an image of the spiny larvae of the Spotted Tortoise Beetle

Letter 28 – Mottled Tortoise Beetle

I was wondering if you could tell me what the attached bug is. We are in our late 50’s and have never seen this bug before. It is on our morning glory vines in Oklahoma. The gold spots are very bright.
Thanks for any information.

Hi Gary,
You have a photo of a Mottled Tortoise Beetle, Deloyala guttata. The species is often found on the foilage of Morning Glories. They are also called Gold Beetles by some people.

Letter 29 – Mottled Tortoise Beetle

Identity, please.
Dear Bugman,
I found this beautiful little bug (slightly smaller than a typical ladybug) in my garden in southern Louisiana. Its gold color and transparent parts are very unusual to me. I suspect it’s a kind of beetle, perhaps even a ladybird but am unsure. I would appreciate deeply your identification, if possible. Many thanks,

Hi Tom,
This is a Mottled Tortoise Beetle, Deloyala guttata, which we identified on BugGuide. Tortoise Beetles are often called Gold Bugs.

Letter 30 – Mottled Tortoise Beetle from Mexico

Plastic Coated Beetle
October 2, 2009
I found this Beetle in August 2005 in Alamos Sonora, there are many unusual insects around at that time of the year because of the monsoon rains. This was the only time I ever saw this species. I’ve researched it a few times since but with no luck in finding out what it was.
Mark Nixon
Alamos, Sonora, Mexico

Tortoise Beetle
Mottled Tortoise Beetle

Dear Mark,
We matched your photo to that of the Mottled Tortoise Beetle, Deloyala guttata, which is pictured on BugGuide.

Letter 31 – Mystery Solved: Tortoise Beetle Larva

Location:  Ventana Canyon, Sonoran Desert, Tucson Arizona
September 2, 2010 8:42 pm
I’m stumped. Some people think it’s a beetle larvae, some a caterpillar with only six legs. Whatever they are they are one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in the Sonoran Desert and that’s saying something. About an inch long maximum, and like being on the underside of the leaves rather than the tops.
Signature:  Sonoran Inquiry

Tortoise Beetle Larva

Hi Sonoran Inquiry,
Was there only one of these things?  What species of plant was it on?  We cannot imagine this being anything but the Larva of a Leaf Beetle.

While we were at work today, we got numerous identification submissions

How ironic.  I got a couple images of one of these myself the other day, in Pima Canyon, in the same mountain range.  You can thank Margarethe Brummermann for telling me what it was.  Here’s a link with images of more larvae and adults:
Pretty cool, eh?  They are quite large by tortoise beetle standards….

I looked on your website and there was a leaf larva from Thailand? that looked
similar which was a tortoise beetle. I did some googling and think I found it.
It’s the larva for the Arizona Tortoise Beetle (Physonota arizonae). I remember
seeing these beetles in Sabino Canyon, very pretty! Thanks for your help.

Hi Daniel and Sonoran Inquiry:
It does look like a Leaf Beetle larva and I think it is probably a Tortoise Beetle (Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae). I think it might be an Arizona Tortoise Beetle (Physonota arizonae), also known as the Arizona Gold beetle. The Bugguide has a fairly good match, and the site ‘Arizona: Beetles Bugs Birds and more’ has a picture of larvae that look even closer (scroll down a little). The host plant is given as various Asteraceae, but particularly Canyon Ragweed (Ambrosia ambrosioides). If that looks like the right plant (it looks similar from what I can tell) then perhaps this is an Arizona Tortoise Beetle. In any case, I think it something very close to that. Regards.  K

Letter 32 – Possibly Tortoise Beetle Larva from Mozambique

Bug on beach in Mozambique
March 28, 2010
Hi, we saw this on the beach at Malongane in March one morning quite early. I would be grateful if you can supply a name for it?
Gawie Pretorius
Ponta de Malongane, Mozambique

Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Gawie,
We believe this resembles the larva of a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, but we have never seen this exact species.  We are more familiar with specimens found in North America.  BugGuide has a photo of the larva of Cassida rubiginosa, which is typical of the larvae of other Tortoise Beetles.  They are often spiny and carry about their shed exoskeletons much like the individual in your photo.

Dear Daniel
I am quite impressed with your quick response!
Thank you so much, it is appreciated.
Kind regards

Letter 33 – Possibly Tortoise Beetle larvae from South Africa

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Zimbabwe harare
Date: 01/21/2018
Time: 02:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Clusters of this bug can only be found on one tree in our garden.  Demolishing the leaf to a skeleton before moving on.  They have been here for 2 weeks now with no sign of lying eyes or making cocoons
How you want your letter signed:  Di

Tortoise Beetle Larvae, we believe

Dear Di,
These are NOT Caterpillars, the larvae of butterflies or moths.  Rather, they are beetle larvae.  We suspect they are Leaf Beetle larvae or more specifically Tortoise Beetle larvae from the subfamily Cassidinae.  Knowing the tree would be of tremendous assistance to providing an actual species identification.  The look like the Fool’s Gold Beetle larvae pictured on BioDiversity Explorer, but that would mean your tree is actually a shrub in the family Solanaceae.

Tortoise Beetle larvae we believe
wow Thank you so much.  I will have to take a leaf down to the local nursery to identify the tree/shrub.  it is very big for a shrub over 5 meters at a guess but it is shrub like with many big stems/trunks and hanging branches I cannot see anything similar on the internet when I use the shrub name suggested.
I will continue looking and searching.

Best regardsDiane

Letter 34 – Probably Tortoise Beetle Larva from Nepal

Subject: Identification Needed!
Location: Hetauda, Central Region, Nepal
July 30, 2015 5:58 pm
Hello Bugman,
I have this little creature that looks amazing, i have always found it living and feeding on Bitter Melon or Bitter Gourd leaves.
Now please give me name. Thank you very much.
Signature: Suman Acharya

Probably Tortoise Beetle Larva
Probably Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Suman,
Our initial web search did not produce any matching images while searching with the key word Nepal, but we believe, based on the similarity in appearance to other species from other locales that we have identified, that this is the larva of a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini.  Here is an image of a North American individual from BugGuide.  The larvae of Tortoise Beetles are often quite spiny, they feed on leaves and they are often very host specific.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide some more specific information.

Probably Tortoise Beetle Larva
Probably Tortoise Beetle Larva
Probably Tortoise Beetle Larva
Probably Tortoise Beetle Larva

Letter 35 – Spiny Mystery Thing is Tortoise Beetle Pupa

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:
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.
Nathan Cook

Hi Nathan,
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”

Letter 36 – Spotted Tortoise Beetle from Taiwan

Unidentified bug
Taipei, Taiwan, taken last Saturday. Thanks!

Spotted Tortoise Beetle, Aspidomorpha miliaris.

Letter 37 – Spotted Tortoise Beetle from Viet Nam

Um… what’s this bug?
Fri, Jan 2, 2009 at 7:04 AM
OK, so I know there are more types insects than any all the other types of creatures put together, and asking you about an insect from ASIA is asking a lot, but I went on a trip through Vietnam and found this little guy on a sign near a beach close to Danang and it’s so weird! I can’t find anything like it. I live in China and see weird bugs all the time, but can usually put them in some sort of category of the bugs I know back home in the states. (okay, so I live in an urban jungle of 20 million people, but I still see crazy insects)
This thing had some sort of CLEAR shell over a more normal looking shell. It was probably 3/4 of an inch long and didn’t budge. I now wished I would have poked it a bit to see how it moved, but I wanted to leave it alone. Probably the nice choice. It looks like a beetle, but I thought it might even be some sort of true bug in a stage of metamorphoses? Heck, I dunno. But I’ve googled all sorts of combinations of transparent, clear, and beetle, and can’t find much more than tricked out Volkswagons.
Help me, Whatsthatbug! You’re my only hope!
On land by a beach, near Danang Vietnam, in the rainy season.

Spotted Tortoise Beetle
Spotted Tortoise Beetle

Dear ajg,
This is a Spotted Tortoise Beetle, Aspidomorpha miliaris.  There are related species found in North America.

Letter 38 – Sunflower Tortoise Beetle Larva

Subject: larva of what?
Location: Meadow in Southern MN USA
August 24, 2014 7:56 pm
Hello there Bugman & Staff,
We work at the local Nature center here & ran across this unusual bug. We have these two shots of it. We have searched, but to no avail… now I am searching sites online. This was found friday aug. 22nd, in a meadow on a grass. It did not seem to be feeding on the plant. We found it during our search for monarch caterpillars. ( We tag the adults & use some of them in a display for the public). We would appreciate any help or guidance identifying this small creature. We are located in Southern Minnesota.
Thank you kindly,
Signature: Nature Center Staff

Sunflower Tortoise Beetle Larva
Sunflower Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Jillian,
We knew immediately that this creature is a Tortoise Beetle Larva, and that thing on the end of its tail is excrement.
  We felt it could not be an Arizona Tortoise Beetle, Physonota arizonae, but we also believed it was closely related.  We believe it is the Sunflower Tortoise Beetle Larva, Physonota helianthi, which we identified on BugGuide and that belongs in the same genus.  According to BugGuide:  “Food: hosts on members of the aster family, Asteraceae.”

Sunflower Tortoise Beetle Larva
Sunflower Tortoise Beetle Larva

Thank You so graciously from our staff, to yours!
We have been identifying a lot of species, and that one gave us a hard time. It was a larva stage, I suppose that’s why. We were able to find and identify a cicada wasp, that was interesting study also.
I wont take up more of your time than necessary, I know it’s precious.
Thank You so kindly,
“May many smiles brighten your every day!”


Letter 39 – Thistle Tortoise Beetle

Pretty green beetle…
May 2, 2010
Pretty green beetle…
…but of course, if one googles “green beetle,” one gets a million images of ugly Volkswagons. I just found this beetle today (May 2) in my back yard in Newton, New Jersey. It is on lemon balm, a plant in the mint family.
Newton, northwestern New Jersey

Thistle Tortoise Beetle

Hi Jeannie,
Your pretty green beetle is a Thistle Tortoise Beetle, Cassida rubiginosa.  According to BugGuide it is also called a Bloody Nosed Beetle which “supposedly refers to the beetle’s ability to secrete a reddish liquid from its head, giving rise to its other common name.
”  BugGuide also indicates the Thistle Tortoise Beetle was accidentally introduced to Canada in the early twentieth century from Eurasia and it has since spread south to the eastern U.S.  Because it feeds upon some introduced thistles and other nonnative weeds, the Thistle Tortoise Beetle was intentionally introduced to Virginia where, according to Bugguide, it “has been used in biological control of thistles. It can reduce thistle vigor and survival, particularly in vigorous grass, but its impact is usually restricted by parasitoids.

Letter 40 – Tortoise Beetle

Gold Bug
Dear Bugman
Hope you can help ID this bug. Found amongst grass/meadow flowers in China, Guangxi. Thought it was a small button at first being about 10mm across, shiny, golden/bronze with a domed transluscent ‘plastic’ disc for protection. Small feelers scanned ahead and when disturbed the four suction cupped feet clamped the body down. May have been able to fly.
Sorry for the poor image.

Hi Bruce,
I cannot tell you an exact species name since I don’t have a guide to Chineese Beetles, but it is a Tortoise Beetle, Family Cassidinae. They get their name from their form. Many of them are beautifully colored in life, but the golden hues rapidly fade after death. Many feed on sweet potatoes and other Convulvulaceae, like morning glories.

Letter 41 – Tortoise Beetle

whats this bug
we have a bug in the garden that no-one around here seems to know what it is. It eats leaves of tomatoes and potatoes please let me know what they are and how best to get rid of them

Hi Eldon,
You have a Tortoise Beetle, called a Goldbug, in the subfamily Cassidinae. Most of our sources cite morning glories as the host plant and we have not heard of them on tomato or potato.

Letter 42 – Tortoise Beetle

Subject: What bug is this?
Location: Tucson, AZ
September 20, 2012 9:19 am
My son and I were at the pool when we saw this bug in Tucson, AZ. Its body reminded me of a ladybug but the colors and design on it are different. Could you please help us identify this bug?
Thank you,
Signature: Julie

Tortoise Beetle

Hi Julie,
This is a Tortoise Beetle in the Leaf Beetle tribe Cassidini and we believe we have correctly identified it as
Deloyala lecontii based on photos on BugGuide.  On the genus page, BugGuide states:  “larvae and adults feed on plants in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae).”  After death, Tortoise Beetles lose their lovely metallic gleam.

Letter 43 – Tortoise Beetle

Subject: gold beetle?
Location: Ojai, California
January 11, 2013 9:09 am
My brother found this in his garden in southern California. Any idea what it is?
Thanks for your time.
Signature: Jeff

Tortoise Beetle

Dear Jeff,
This is a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidinae.  In trying to identify your species, the coloration looks most like the Anacua Tortoise Beetle,
Coptocycla texana, a species BugGuide lists only in Texas.  The markings look most like the Clavate Tortoise Beetle, Plagiometriona clavata, though we are not used to seeing this golden coloration in that species.  Interestingly, while researching this on BugGuide, we found your photo and the current opinion there, as posted by Ron M is:  “Although the golden shine… …doesn’t match any examples currently in the guide, I think it will be Clavate Tortoise Beetle (Plagiometriona clavata) but please wait for other opinions.”

Letter 44 – Tortoise Beetle, AKA Goldbug

tiny gold beetle
A patron brought this small beetle (approx. 2-3 mm) in for some ID help and I can’t find anything in any of our books that fit. It flew into their car in a parking lot that’s near a small oak-hickory woodlot. The elytra are clear around the margins. I really just want to narrow it down to Family – any thoughts?

Hi Michael,
Beautiful photo of a Tortoise Beetle in the Leaf Beetle family Chrysomellidae. They are sometimes called Goldbugs.

Letter 45 – Tortoise Beetle and Stink Bug Nymphs from Costa Rica

Subject: Metallic Green Bug
Location: Northern Costa Rica
May 2, 2013 1:58 pm
I encountered these insects on the edge of the forest in Northern Costa Rica. At first I thought they were some sort of beetle, but I found the same plants also had what seem to be nymphs of the same species. Searching for some ID for them online I came up empty. My guess is some sort of shield bug.
Signature: Siggy

Tortoise Beetle
Tortoise Beetle:  Omocerus casta

Dear Siggy,
You have two distinct insect orders represented in your request, and at least two, and possibly three different species.  The “metallic green bug” is actually a Tortoise Beetle, and we believe it is in the genus
Omocerus based on an image we located on The Befuddled Loris (scroll down) and verified on the Coleoptera of Costa Rica where it is identified as Omocerus casta.  This same beetle can also be found on the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Discover Life.

Stink Bug Nymph
Stink Bug Nymph

The other two creatures are Hemipteran nymphs and we believe they are different species.  They are most likely Stink Bugs in the family Pentatomidae.

Stink Bug Nymph
Stink Bug Nymph

Well that clarifies things a bit. I found several of each kind of the insects I sent images of in the same small area, so I thought they must be of the same species. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Letter 46 – Tortoise Beetle and Unknown Leaf Beetle from Costa Rica

Can you help me name these beetles?
January 31, 2010
please could help me to identify these beetles, all were photographed in Santa Elena cloud forest in Costa Rica in december.
Costa Rica

Tortoise Beetle:  Stolas cuculata

Hi Miles,
We are at the end of your identification requests, and we decided to split up your beetle requests to better align with are archives.  These two beetles are both Leaf Beetles in the family Chrysomelidae, and the black specimen with the orange spots is, we believe, a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini.  In our attempts to identify it, we stumbled upon a Tropical Diversity in the  Amazon blog with a similarly marked, though obviously different species of Tortoise Beetle, and it was just posted yesterday.  We then found a Discover Life website with numerous links, and our first click fortuitously led us to an image of your Tortoise Beetle which was identified as Stolas cuculata.  We verified the identification on the Biol.uni website.  In our attempt to answer your question, we did find a photo on Flickr that appears to be the same species as your Leaf Beetle, but alas, it has not been identified.  We are trying to click through all the links on the Discover Life Website in the hopes to properly identify your Leaf Beetle, but we need to attend to other things at the moment.

Leaf Beetle:  Zygogramma violaceomaculata

Hi Daniel,
that’s brilliant, thanks for al of your help with identification. Great idea for a website and I am shocked that you replied so quickly. I might have one or two more….

Identification thanks to Karl
Hi Daniel and Miles:
The leaf beetle in the lower photo is probably Zygogramma violaceomaculata (Chrysomelidae). Zygogramma appears to be a recent re-classification; older references designate it as Calligrapha violaceomaculata. The Electronic Biologia Centrali-Americana also provides an illustration under the older name that looks pretty much identical. Regards.

Letter 47 – Tortoise Beetle: Chelymorpha cribraria

Subject:  Can you ID this beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Merritt Island, Brevard County, FL
Date: 08/12/2021
Time: 02:52 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello,
Hoping you can ID these beetles, which are located on (and apparently snacking on) railroad vine (Ipomoea pes-caprae) in a residential landscape. These are about twice the size of your standard issue ladybug beetle. Photo taken Aug. 12, 2021, mid-afternoon, south facing planting bed.
How you want your letter signed:  LG

Tortoise Beetle

Dear LG,
We quickly found your Tortoise Beetle,
Chelymorpha cribraria, on Featured Creatures where it states:  “The genus Chelymorpha Boheman contains more than 100 species, which are mostly Neotropical in distribution. Two species have been recorded (Blatchley 1924) previously from Florida: Chelymorpha cassidea (Fabricius) and Chelymorpha geniculata Boheman. The endemic Florida Chelymorpha geniculata has had a checkered taxonomic history. It is often considered either a synonym or subspecies of Chelymorpha cassidea (Balbaugh and Hays 1972). Both are uniformly tan to red-brown in color with 12 to 14 black spots on the elytra and four to six on the pronotum. Chelymorpha cribraria is extremely polymorphic in color (Vasconcellos-Neto 1988), and most of the color forms have been described as separate species. Only two color forms have been found in Florida so far. The most common color form in Florida is bicolored, with pronotum black and elytra brick-red or tan. Much less common is the color form having a tan ground color with metallic reflections, numerous black speckles, and longitudinal red stripes on the elytra.”  According to BugGuide:  “adventive in FL (established), native to S. America & West Indies” and “showed up in so. FL following hurricane Andrew (Sep. 1993). ”  The species has no common name.

Tortoise Beetles
Thank you very much! I was sorta on the right track: was thinking leaf beetles but just didn’t find the magic word combo to get me to the Featured Creatures entry or anywhere else that made me think I was on the right track for sure. Had I used “tortoise beetle,” I probably would’ve found it. Anyway, again, thanks!

Letter 48 – Tortoise Beetle from Costa Rica

Subject:  Tortoise Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Costa Rica
Date: 03/14/2018
Time: 04:11 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello! I had seen this little Tortoise nettle a couple of times and it looks like a Mottled one but the color is uniform on its back. Do you know  which specie it is
How you want your letter signed:  Esther

Tortoise Beetle

Dear Esther,
Many Tortoise Beetles in the tribe Cassidini are quite beautiful and your individual is no exception.  Your individual looks to us like
Microctenochira cf. vivida which is pictured on Project Noah.

Thank you so much for the identification! Tortoise Beetles are so beautiful, here in the city I had only see two variations though. Have a great weekend!
Esther Murillo

Letter 49 – Tortoise Beetle: face of Darth Vader

Darth Vader beetle
Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 6:52 AM
Hello fellow bug-nuts.
Just for fun:
Does this tortoise beetle remind you of a certain Star Wars character?
From my garden in Central Minnesota last summer.
Don Dindorf
St. Augusta, MN

Anthropomorphized Tortoise Beetle
Anthropomorphized Tortoise Beetle

Dear Don,
There has long been a tendency for humans to anthropomorphize rocks, clouds, and even darkened spots on tortillas, and this tendency is probably what lead primitive humans to begin making primitive art.  We are thoroughly amused by your perception of the countenance of Darth Vader on the elytra of this Tortoise Beetle.  Thanks for sharing your observation.

Letter 50 – Target Beetle: Tortoise Beetle from Brazil

Shiny bug
Location: Cambé – PR, Brazil
January 8, 2011 7:27 pm
This bug has a really shiny golden color.
The shot was taken with an iPhone4 and a magnifying glass, inside my car.
The insulfilm of the windows and my inexperience with photos takes the beauty of the bug away.I think it measures around 6mm.
Thank you for your time
Signature: Aloysio Paschoal

Tortoise Beetle

Hi again Aloysio,
This is some species of Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini.

Youre right,
searching for Tortoise Beetle on Google images I saw one identical on Panama.
Thank you

Thanks Aloysio,
We decided to complete our research.  We found the Target Beetle,
Ischnocodia annulus, on a FlickR profile website.

Seems like the especies could be Ischnocodia annulus.
Some links:
Also found like Charidotis cincticulus:
2011/1/12 Aloysio Turrisi

Letter 51 – Tortoise Beetle from Ecuador

Subject: Mystery Insect Captured during a nature walk in Amazonian Ecuador
Location: Cuyabeno National Park, Sucumbios, Ecuador
September 5, 2015 4:15 pm
Greetings bug-men and -women!
My name is Josh and my home is San Diego, California. Working in a pharmaceutical lab during the week, I always enjoyed indulging in the inkling in the state parks around where I live to get out and see the flora and fauna. Although I haven’t traveled much most of my life, this summer my friends were able to persuade me to go with them to Ecuador in order to tour its Amazonian and Andean reaches! Although the diversity was expected, nevertheless I was stunned by the simply unhinged assortment of birds, monkeys, and especially insects. Harboring only a very amateur level of knowledge of some scientific classifications, I was able to do research and figure out each of the insects seen on the voyage, except for one!!! The insect (or possibly even a mollusk?) I would like to present really threw me for a loop. My tour group was on its way on foot to a Siona community about longitudinally midway in the Cuyabeno National Park in Ecuador. I was falling behind the tour, so I was onl y able to snap 1 quick photo of the little guy. Anyhow after some exhaustive searches upon my return home my findings were inconclusive. If you ever find the time to take a look at it, I’d love to know what this peculiar guy was. Then I’ll be able to revise my current slang name for it, the 1934 Tatra 77, of which it bears remarkable resemblance. 😉
Signature: Sincerely, Josh

Tortoise Beetle
Tortoise Beetle

Dear Josh,
This is most definitely a Tortoise Beetle in the Leaf Beetle tribe Cassidini.  We found a matching image on Getty Images, but it is not identified to the species level.  Similar looking images on FlickR and again on FlickR are not identified more specifically.  At this time, the best we can do is the general identification.

Letter 52 – Tortoise Beetle from Hong Kong

Glowing UFO Bug
June 9, 2010
Really need some help to identify this flying bug that i found when visiting a mushroom farm in Hong Kong. It’s wrapped around in a jelly like cushion, 5cm in diameter, emitting a phosphoresceent glow even in broad day light.
New Territories, Hong Kong

Tortoise Beetle

Hi there Wildboy,
This is a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, but beyond that, we cannot tell you much of the exact species.  The jelly like cushion is actually part of the elytra or hardened wings of the beetle that cover and protect the membranous flying wings.  Many beetles that have this type of metallic coloration quickly fade when they die.

Letter 53 – Tortoise Beetle from India

Subject:  A Golden Beetle
Geographic location of the bug:  Nashik, Maharashtra, Indian.
Date: 10/30/2018
Time: 11:23 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I find a Golden Beetle having a plastic thin coating around  itself  please tell me about this bug……
How you want your letter signed:  Bug finder

Tortoise Beetle

Dear Bug finder,
This is a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, but we are not certain of the species.  Here is a similar looking Tortoise Beetle, but a different species from India that is pictured on FlickR.

Letter 54 – Tortoise Beetle from India: Larvae and Imago

Whats the species
Please let me know the characteristics and species of the bugs that I have photographed in three different stages
Menino Henriques
Vasco da Gama, Goa,India

Tortoise Beetle from India
Tortoise Beetle from India

Hi Menino,
We don’t know the exact species, but this is one of the Tortoise Beetles in the Tribe Cassidini.  Your photos show both the larval form and the adult form known as the imago.

Tortoise Beetle Larvae from India
Tortoise Beetle Larvae from India

Letter 55 – Tortoise Beetle from Indonesia

Tortoise Beetle
Location: North East Halmahera
March 5, 2012 4:12 am
Hello Bugman,
I found this tortoise beetle in Halmahera,North Malukku.
Signature: ?

Tortoise Beetle

Hi Markus,
You are correct that this is a Tortoise Beetle, and it is a nice addition to our website.  We have never heard of your location and upon doing some research, we now know that you are in Indonesia.

Hey Daniel,
thank you for your reply. I really love your webpage!
I think i spend hours today, watching the pictures.
Unfortunately i´m back home in germany since a week.

We are quite certain there are many interesting bugs in Germany.

Letter 56 – Tortoise Beetle from Mexico

Jewel-like beetle
Location:  Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucutan Penninsula, Mexico
September 4, 2010 1:08 pm
So one day while sitting in the kitchen of my friends apartment here in Playa Del Carmen, in the coast of Mexico, this little beetle about the size of an index fingernail lands on the countertop. for ages I just sat there mesmerised by it’s coloring. It was only until 10 minutes had passed when I thought of taking a photo. It would be great if I could put a name to this insect as I’ve only seen it once before.
Much appreciated!
signature:  Adam Bolton

Tortoise Beetle

Hi Adam,
This is a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, but we cannot find a visual match on BugGuide.  Often Tortoise Beetles lose their beautiful metallic coloration after death.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply a species name.

Hi daniel,
Thank you for your quick reply! Now I know what it is, I can put my mind at rest. What I will be doing from now on though, is using
your site a lot more. Since moving from my native England to Mexico, I’ve come across all kinds of strange and weird creatures which i’d love to know what they really are.

Letter 57 – Tortoise Beetle from Mozambique

Can you name this bug for me please?
May 6, 2010
Hello. I found this bug on a creeping vine on the sand dune on the beach in Maputo, Mozambique, Africa. It was eating the green leaves of a creeping vine plant and seemed to have spun a cocoon at some stage during its life cycle. Can you please help me find out the name of the bug? Thanks
Maputo, Mozambique Africa

Tortoise Beetle

Dear MMoz,
This is some species of Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, but we do not know the species.

Letter 58 – Tortoise Beetle from Nicaragua

Subject: Is that a Ladybug?
Location: San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
July 5, 2012 8:42 pm
Hello (again 😉 Bugman!
IS this a ladybug? It is very beautiful, all shiny and full of colors in the sunshine 😉
Signature: PunkRockGirl

Tortoise Beetle

Dear PunkRockGirl,
We have noticed that you have sent a few emails over the past week and we have been very bad about posting any of your submissions.  This is not a Ladybug, and for the record, Ladybugs are more correctly called Lady Beetles.  This is a Tortoise Beetle and they are known for their iridescent colors, however, once the Tortoise Beetle dies, the colors fade.  Specimens in collections are never as beautiful as living Tortoise Beetles.  We believe we found a matching photo on FlickR from Costa Rica, however, it is not identified to the species level.

Letter 59 – Tortoise Beetle from Guyana

Subject: Tortoise Beetle in Artwork
Location: Guyana
August 5, 2016 2:51 pm
Hi! I’m a nature illustrator and have created a sculpture of a Tortoise beetle, but I cannot find the scientific name of the beetle. I hope that you can help me find it so that I can accurately label the artwork! I have attached an image of the sculpture.
Thank you so much for your help!!
Reference photo from the web:
Signature: Zebith Thalden of Intersectus Design

Illustration of a Tortoise Beetle from Guyana
Illustration of a Tortoise Beetle from Guyana

Dear Zebith,
Thanks for working with us to create this posting.  We hope you understand why we cannot post images downloaded from the internet when there is no permission from the photographer.  This Dobsonfly posting addresses the complicated issues of Copyright Infringement and also illustrates the problems we encounter when there is no permission to use images.  This Eucharitid Wasp image is another example of plagiarism we have encountered on our site.
We began our search using the common name Tortoise Beetle coupled with first Guyana, and then neighboring countries like Suriname, Brazil and Venezuela, but all produced no matching images.  We then turned to the scientific name for the Subfamily Cassidinae that includes Tortoise Beetles, and we struck gold with this pdf on BioLib entitled Tortoise beetles of the French Guyana – a faunistic review (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae) by LECH BOROWIEC1 and GÉRARD MORAGUES, but alas, there are no illustrations, though there are numerous scientific names of the species found in French Guyana.  Searching for images for each of those names might take weeks, and though we do not have the time, you may.  We then tried to search the subfamily name coupled with other nearby countries, and when we found this unidentified Tortoise Beetle from Peru in our own archives that we suspect might be in the genus
Eugenysa, we decided to search that name as well, but again to no avail.  Though we drew a big blank, we are going to put out a request to our readership, including Cesar Crash of Insetologia from Brazil and to Karl who loves a challenge, to assist us in this ID.  You might also try to contact LECH BOROWIEC1 and GÉRARD MORAGUES to see if they can assist you.  If you do eventually score a species, or at least a genus ID, please let us know.

Thank you so much for all of your work! I will continue the search and hope that the tendrils that we both are putting out there will bring back an answer. Fingers crossed!
As far as the copyright, I appreciate your policy. As an artist, I deeply appreciate when people make sure others only post images that they have direct permission to use. Thank you for upholding these respectful (and legal) standards!


Letter 60 – Tortoise Beetle Larva

What’s this bug?
Dear Bugman,
I found this bug on some tomato and eggplants that were growing on my porch. I’m really wondering what they are. We live in central Pennsylvania . Your website is great and I’ve been telling people about it :~) Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge,
Leslie Howard

Dear Leslie,
At first we thought this was a Slug Caterpillar, but the curious thing about your image is the debris on the back. We enlisted Eric Eaton’s assistance to identify a Tortoise Beetle Pupa, and then Nathan wrote back correcting this misidentification.

Update (04/17/2006)
I believe, now that you were able to identify the tortoise beetle larvae photo I sent you can also put the following entry to rest as well. I found it under the first Caterpillar listing. It looks very similar to an already identified toroise beetle larvae photo found on one of your beetle pages – it too was green like this one. Again, great site!
Nathan Cook

Letter 61 – Tortoise Beetle Larva

Something like a Crowned Slug Caterpillar?
Location: Rolla, MO
April 29, 2012 11:49 pm
There were several of these on the Chinese lantern plant I purchased last year. I thought I’d removed them all, only to find they had multiplied and prospered at the expense of my plant while I was on vacation last year. The neat thing about them is that they carry some sort of baggage! They usually have it settled across their back, but sometimes carry it up high in the air. Perhaps they’re trying to camouflage to look like some sort of excrement?
Signature: Michelle Nash, Rolla, MO

Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Michelle,
You are being troubled by the larvae of a Tortoise Beetle, most likely a Clavate Tortoise Beetle.  These beetles feed on plants in the tomato family including Chinese Lantern.  You may also compare your photo to this image posted to BugGuide.  Your observation about the baggage is correct.  According to the Featured Creatures website:  “The larva is a typical tortoise beetle type, but very unlike most other beetle larvae. The last abdominal segment has a special “fecal fork” which permits the attachment of dried fecal matter. This fecal mass is carried over the dorsum in the same form as “trash bugs” (Neuroptera), and presumably offers a degree of protection through camouflage. The body is green, flattened, and almost entirely fringed with whitish multispiculate projections.”

Letter 62 – Tortoise Beetle Larva

Subject: Blue Monster
Location: East central Alabama
August 17, 2015 10:56 am
I was hiking last weekend near a small stream and saw this heart shaped leaf. Upon looking closer, I noticed a very small blue bug that appeared to look like the monster in Little Shop of Horrors. It had a large mouth and spiky barbs surrounding its body. Any thoughts?
Signature: Howard

Tortoise Beetle Larva
Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Howard,
This is a Tortoise Beetle Larva, and we think chances are very good that it is a Golden Tortoise Beetle larva,
Charidotella sexpunctata, based on this BugGuide image.  According to BugGuide, they feed on “leaves of various Convolvulaceae” the family that includes morning glories, and many species have heart shaped leaves.  The spiny larva of many Tortoise Beetles produce a fecal shell of droppings that acts as camouflage or protection.

I appreciate the response. I’m 47 and have read many sci fi books. I didn’t know if this was a bug I didn’t recognize or if I needed to contact the CDC.

Letter 63 – Tortoise Beetle Larva

Subject:  Identifying bug on tomato leaf
Geographic location of the bug:  Manassas, Va 20112
Date: 07/10/2019
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

Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear 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.

Letter 64 – Tortoise Beetle Larva: A correction

Correction on Crowned Slug Caterpillar ID
Dear Bugman,
In regards to ” Crowned Slug Caterpillar (07/14/2005) Strange bug”, I do believe the key word in the sender’s question is “vine” as this is not a caterpillar, but the very minute larva of the Golden Tortoise Beetle, Metriona bicolor. I’ve had oodles of them myself on my decorative sweet potato vines and they will “shotgun” pattern the leaves to the point of decimating the plant (one characteristic hole is partially visible to the left of the larva). They use their fecal pellets as a dorsal shield which they elevate when alarmed, hence the “dark thing” falling off (probably physically knocked off when poked.) I’ve been keeping a culture of them for a couple years now and hope to be publishing some research on them in the not-too-distant future. I haven’t taken any macro shots of the larvae myself, but check out the link below and I think you’ll see that the clarity/quality of the photo on your site makes it appear to be much larger than it is in reality. [see this site] The adults are fascinating in that they can change color, from a dun/CLEAR tannish color when disturbed (below) to a shining gold when feeding and at rest. Truly gorgeous; like drops of molten gold! Keep up the good work,
Bradley Goettle
Clemson University
Dept of Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences
Graduate Research Assistant

Hi Bradley,
Thanks for the correction and the fascinating letter. The original letter is reproduced below.

Not a Crowned Slug Caterpillar, but Tortoise Beetle Larva
(07/14/2005) Strange bug
I found this bug on the leaf of a vine growing around one of my hedges. I poked it with a stick and it moved. So I poked it again and the dark thing on the end of it fell off. It seemed to be anchored to the leaf though. There were more on other leaves too. I can’t figure out what it is. Can you help?

Letter 65 – Tortoise Beetle Larva, we believe, from India

Subject: Arthropods unknown to me
Location: Agartala, Tripura, North-East India
May 10, 2014 12:48 pm
On the day April 29th 2014 in Northern Hemisphere (Hot Humid weather) I was roaming around a river for photographing wildlife and I found some kind of creature which appeared arthropod to me. They were 3x2cm in dimensions. The day was bright sunny and temperature was around 36 degree c. I found a green colored spider also very near to them but it didn’t have any attention to them. The spider was as if ignoring them. I can’t name the plant which they were resting on but the leaves were eaten by someone , may be by them also… I don’t know.
I will be very grateful if you kindly help me identify them.
Signature: Abhik

Tortoise Beetle Larva
Tortoise Beetle Larva

Hi Abhik,
We are 99% certain that this is the larva of a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae, most likely a Tortoise Beetle Larva in the Tribe Cassidini.  Here is an example from North America that is posted to BugGuide.  We will attempt to provide a species name for you, but that might not be possible.

Tortoise Beetle Larva
Tortoise Beetle Larva

Thanks a lot for helping me identify this larva. I will go to the place again and try to capture the whole life cycle of the Beetle. Thanking you again

Tortoise Beetle Larva
Tortoise Beetle Larva

Letter 66 – Thistle Tortoise Beetle Larvae from France

Subject:  What are these bugs on my artichoke?
Geographic location of the bug:  Southern France
Date: 04/29/2018
Time: 09:48 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Our artichoke plants are infested with these strange looking bugs. They are on artichoke plants quite far apart, but no other plants. Looks like some sort of lice (?) with a very strange tail which they use to cover/camouflage their bodies with. They are eating the plants fast and causing quite a lot of damage. Approx 5mm in size.
How you want your letter signed:  Matilde Holloway

Thistle Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Matilde,
These look unmistakably like Tortoise Beetle Larvae that carry fecal matter on their back for camouflage.  We did some research and found several French language sites, including Natura Mediterraneo and Agraria that identify these as the larvae of the Tortoise Beetle
Cassida deflorata.

Thistle Tortoise Beetle Larvae
Thank you so much, that makes perfect sense, when we first saw them we thought they were droppings. Upon further research it appears they are
Thistle Tortoise Beetle Larvae  which makes sense given that they were on the artichokes only.
Thanks again

Letter 67 – Tortoise Beetle from Madagascar

Subject:  Some kind of Cassida?
Geographic location of the bug:  Ranomafana, Madagascar
Date: 04/19/2018
Time: 03:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this beetle while taking  photographing some frogs very close to a waterfall.
Since we were very close to both a waterfall and rainforest it was a very moist terrain. It was sitting on a smaller bamboo-like plant. The visit was in the begining of the cooler season there.
How you want your letter signed:  Janne

Tortoise Beetle

Dear Janne,
This is indeed a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, but we cannot say for certain that it is a member of the genus
Cassida and we have not been able to locate any matching images that would help identify the species.

Letter 68 – Tortoise Beetle from Trinidad

Subject: Bug at ASa Wright
Location: Asa Wright, Trinidad
March 19, 2016 8:52 am
Hi, we found this bug on a night time walk from the Asa Wright center on Trinidad. It was about half an inch long.
Signature: /A

Tortoise Beetle
Tortoise Beetle

Dear /A,
This is a Tortoise Beetle in the subfamily Cassidinae and it looks close enough to this image of
Acromis spinifex on FlickR that we suspect it might be a variation or subspecies on your island, or at least a member of the same genus.  There is also a similar looking image on Scientific Illustration.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck with an identity.

Letter 69 – Tortoise Beetle from Venezuela

Subject:  Golden Ladybug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Falcón, Venezuela
Date: 12/14/2017
Time: 11:01 AM EDT
Hi, I found this beetle in my car this morning. It looked exactly like a Ladybug but spotless and with an iridescent golden color. For what I’ve seen it’s not a Tortoise Beetle, so what could it be?
How you want your letter signed:  Gabriela G

Tortoise Beetle

Dear Gabriela,
This is not a Lady Beetle.  It is a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae, probably one of the Tortoise Beetles.  Alas, we did not have any luck locating matching images on the internet.

Letter 70 – Two Malaysian Tortoise Beetles

Beautiful tortoise beetles you might want to add.
Location: Malaysia
June 12, 2011 5:18 am
Found these in my backyard in Malaysia. You have a beautiful collection of tortoise beetles on your site and I thought perhaps you might like to add these.
Signature: AJ

Tortoise Beetle:  Cassida circumdata

Dear AJ,
Thanks for sending in photos of these two pretty Tortoise Beetles.  We will try to get species identifications when we have a free moment.

Tortoise Beetle:  Chiridopsis scalaris

Letter 71 – Brazilian Tortoise Beetle

Brazilian Bug ID
October 1, 2009
Greetings Bugman,
Can you help me with the identification of this bug please. Found it on a leaf on the Island of Ilha Grande, south west of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The picture was taken at the end of August 2007.
Thanks, Steve
Ilha Grande, Brazil

Tortoise Beetle
Tortoise Beetle

Hi Steve,
This beauty is a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini.  We spent the day getting knee surgery and this is our first posting today.  We don’t want to take the time right now for a species identification before trying to post a few additional letters.  Perhaps our invaluable contributor Karl will be able to take a stab at this one.  We just realized that it is the first of the month, and we have problems with new images posting live at the beginning of each month.

Update from Karl
Hi Daniel:
I believe this Tortoise Beetle is in the genus Stolas (Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae). The tribe is Stolaini, although in some references the tribe is given as Cassidini. Stolas is a rather large genus (170+ species) with considerable variety in size, shape and color, and a half a dozen or so species look similar to the one in Steve’s photo. The closest I could find was S. stevensi (how is that for coincidence?!). It’s not a perfect match but it is the only one I could find that has the yellow/gold markings on the pronotum. There is probably some variability within the species and that may account for the small differences; or it could be a case of sexual dimorphism. I could find little information about the species, but the southeast coast of Brazil is within its range. Regards.

Update:  June 28, 2014
Thanks to a comment from a Park Ranger in Ilha Grande, we now know that this is
Stolas stevensi or a closely related species in the same genus.  The Cassidinae of the World website has corroborating images.

Update:  Comment December 18, 2014
In the meanwhile I am pretty sure (as sure as one can be ;-)…!) that this one is Mesomphalia turrita.
Note, that M. sexmaculata is a synonym of M. turrita

Letter 72 – Palmetto Tortoise Beetle Larva from Dominican Republic

Subject:  Weird camo worm
Geographic location of the bug:  La Romana, Dominican Republic
Date: 03/05/2019
Time: 08:14 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this weird worm on several palm trees at a friends home. It seems to build a cocoon of dry fibers and then starts to eat the clorofila of the palm tree leaves. Several on each branch. Never seen it before and several landscaper friends either.
How you want your letter signed:  Ariel

Palmetto Tortoise Beetle Larva

Dear Ariel,
Thanks for presenting us with this challenging identification.  Our initial search did not provide us with any conclusive identification, but we strongly suspect this is a larval form and that it will mature into some species of Beetle.  Many Leaf Beetles in the family Chrysomelidae construct structures made of fecal matter to camouflage them while they are feeding.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to provide an identification. 

Palmetto Tortoise Beetle Larva

Thank you for your help Daniel! I look forward to more info from your readers.

Update:  Palmetto Tortoise Beetle Larva
A special thanks to Cesar Crash who identified the Palmetto Tortoise Beetle larva, Hemisphaerota cyanea, on BugGuide where it states:  “This is the underside of the Tortoise beetle fecal nest, showing the larva protected by it’s fecal strands.”

You have been amazing!!! Thanks for the help!!!


Letter 73 – Unknown Leaf Beetle from Australia

Subject: Tortoise Bug?
Location: Western Australia
September 24, 2014 12:03 pm
Hi There, We’re on the South Coast of Western Australia and found this little fella in our kitchen- it’d obviously flown in.
At first we thought it was a Ladybug/Ladybird but after some research now think it’s some kind of Tortoise Bug but don’t know for sure.
After taking a couple pics we let him go outside. 🙂
Signature: Jo

Tortoise Beetle
Leaf Beetle

Dear Jo,
We agree with you that this is some species of Tortoise Beetle, but we had no luck attempting to identify it to the species level.  We could not find any matching images on the Insects of Brisbane website.
  Perhaps one of our readers will have more luck.

Update:  Cesar Crash provided a comment with this FlickR link of a Leaf Beetle in the genus Paropsisterna that looks like it is correct.

Tortoise Beetle
Leaf Beetle

Letter 74 – Tortoise Beetle from Australia

ID for this Tortoise Beetle
Wed, May 13, 2009 at 8:59 PM
Hi guys,
This one has me beat. Looks like several tortoise beetle species except that the prothorax doesn’t cover the head. Any ideas? Found feeding on wattle leaf.
Queensland, Australia

Tortoise Beetle
Tortoise Beetle

Hi Trevor,
Sorry for the delay, but Wednesday is the worst day of the week to write to us since we don’t get home from work until nearly 11 PM. Then we get backed up with several days worth of letters. We haven’t had a chance to try to identify your Tortoise Beetle, but perhaps by posting it, someone will write in with an identification.

Tortoise Beetle

Correction: Mon, May 18, 2009 at 12:53 PM
Hi Daniel:
I believe aussietrev’s tortoise beetle (Coleoptera:Chrysomelidae: Cassidinae) is in the genus Notosacantha (formerly Hoplionota); probably N. dorsalis. The species appears to be limited to Queensland. The larvae of all Notosacantha species are leaf-miners. Regards.

Letter 75 – Unknown Tortoise Beetle from Nicaragua identified by Karl

Metallic Green Beetle with a really cool plastic coat
July 31, 2009
I found these beetles congregated in a wooden window frame in an abandoned building on the shoreline of the Pacific in Nicaragua. I was attracted by the bright green metallic color but then noticed the really cool “plastic coat” each was wearing. Looks like they’ve been recylcling the many discarded water bottles littering the shoreline. Any idea what this guy is?
Dean Campbell
Las Salinas Nicaragua

Unknown Tortoise Beetle from Nicaragua
Tortoise Beetle from Nicaragua

Hi Dean,
This is some species of Tortoise Beetle in the Leaf Beetle subfamily Cassidinae
, but we haven’t the time to research the exact species just now.  Perhaps one of our readers can provide the answer.

Identification from Karl
August 4, 2009
Hi Daniel:
I am fairly certain that Dean’s tortoise beetles belong in the genus Physonota. Of the several species occurring in Nicaragua, Physonota attenuate appears to be the closest match. Unfortunately, all of the reference photos I could find of this species are of preserved museum specimens, and tortoise beetles don’t preserve their color or clarity when they are dried. A live specimen would look much like the related North American species, P. helianthi, which can be viewed at the Bugguide site. Regards.

Letter 76 – Unknown Tortoise Beetle from the Netherlands

Subject:  Gold leaf beetle?
Geographic location of the bug:  Saba, Caribbean Netherlands
Date: 07/30/2018
Time: 10:37 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This lovely was resting on a water hyacinth in my garden. The iPhone pic doesn’t do its color justice – it was a bright metallic gold.  I’m guessing it’s a leaf or a tortoise beetle, but I haven’t been able to find any matches online.  Any ideas?
(Plus, it’s a really cool photo and I wanted to share it.)
How you want your letter signed:  drsunsets

Tortoise Beetle, we believe

Dear dr sunsets,
This is a Leaf Beetle in the family Chrysomelidae, and we believe it is a Tortoise Beetle in the tribe Cassidini, but we didn’t read your submission that carefully, and we thought you took this image in The Netherlands, so we did not find any matching images.  We will attempt a new search of Caribbean species.  A quick search turned up no matches.  Perhaps one of our readers will have better luck.

Wow, thanks so much for your quick reply!

Letter 77 – Unknown Tortoise Beetle Larva on Iris Leaf

Yellow and Black Bug
Hi. I’ve loved taking pictures of strange insects, etc. and I came across this bug (and several others in clusters) in my Iris flower bed a few weeks ago. Could you please identify it for me? I’d greatly appreciate it.
Dawn from OK
Talala, OK US

Tortoise Beetle Larva on Iris
Tortoise Beetle Larva on Iris

Hi Dawn,
This is a Leaf Beetle Larva in the family Chrysomelidae. We are nearly certain it is one of the Tortoise Beetles in the subfamily Cassidinae. We found a photo on BugGuide that is a very close match. Sadly, we haven’t the time to research the exact species that feeds on iris at the moment, but perhaps one of our readers will submit a comment.

Letter 78 – Wild Olive Tortoise Beetle Pupa from Costa Rica

Subject: Indentify bug
Location: Cartago, Costa Rica
July 17, 2015 9:59 am
Hi Mr. Bugman, I found a weird bug, but nobody can tell me what kind of bug is, maybe you can help me to to identify it. Thank you so much
Signature: Jc Nuñez

Unknown Horned Larva
Wild Olive Tortoise Beetle Pupa

Dear Jc Nuñez,
Wow, you nearly had us stumped.  This is such a unique looking creature that we thought it would be easier to identify.  We believe it is some larval or pupal stage of an insect.  We wish your image had better details as we cannot even begin to try to classify this creature.  Our best guess at this time is that this is the Pupa of a Tortoise Beetle from the subfamily Cassidinae based on its resemblance to this image, also from Costa Rica, posted on FlickR.  It is obvious that they are not the same species, but there are similarities.  Not wanting to give up, we continued to search and we found an image on FlickR from Mexico that is identified as the larva and adult Wild Olive Tortoise Beetle, but alas, there is no scientific name.  The poster, Seth Patterson, writes:  “one of most common here in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is a larger species that feeds on our Mexican Wild Olive trees. They are called the Wild Olive Tortoise Beetle. My first encounter with this species left me truly smitten. I actually didn’t first encounter the ‘beetle’ (adult stage) but rather the larval stage. Their spiny, robust bodies are incredibly similar in appearance to the prehistoric trilobites. When threatened, the larvae raise their forked tails in an imposing display. Of course, they are all show and completely harmless to humans.”  The leaves in your image do resemble the leaves of an olive, so we continued to search.  The Texas Entomology page identifies the Wild Olive Tortoise Beetle as
Physonota alutacea, but there is no image of the pupa.  This image of a pupa of the Wild Olive Tortoise Beetle on BugGuide looks like an exact match to your critter.

Unknown Horned Larva
Wild Olive Tortoise Beetle Pupa

Hi, you are really, really great !!!
Thank you so much for check it out my image, Sincerely I didn´t expected for an answer.  Unfortunally, I shot just two photos of that bug, which was been sent to you, here you can find them in more high resolution :  Physonota Alutacea.
Thank you for your quick response.


  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

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Tags: Tortoise Beetles

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