Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tortoise Beetles

Golden Tortoise Beetle on a sad-looking leaf

 The other day I saw this beautiful insect on a chilli leaf. I've only seen the Golden Tortoise beetle twice in as many years. So you can imagine my excitement at the sight of this beautiful creature again. Please click on the pictures!

Tortoise beetles have bodies that are somewhat shell-like in appearance. Body margins extend in a roof-like manner over much of the head and legs. Most species are 5-8mm long.

Leaf damage on the Bush Morning Glory

 I had noticed this leaf a few days earlier and had seen some spiny instars of what I presumed to be of the Tussock moth. All that googling did not help as I didn't come across a match.

Strange-looking pupa

 But after I saw the newly-emerged beetle, it was easy to find more details. When the larvae shed their skin, it remains attached to a prong-like process at the end of the abdomen. Moults are stacked on moults and are carried around held over the insect's back like a parasol. When disturbed, the larva waves the attachment...good enough to detract its predators!

More of them, and a newly emerged beetle

Motionless on the underside of the leaf

Here's another. Tiny and with a different coloration.

Here's another!

This one has become active...flying from leaf to leaf!

Host plants are the sweet potato and closely related plants such as the morning glory and bindweed. 

It pooped!

Leave me alone!!

Looks like this one didn't make it.

I had helped myself to a small branch of this plant from the edge of a rice field about three years ago. Little did I know then that apart from the pretty blooms there would be a much more fascinating revelation in store for me.


Ginny said...

So these pretty tortoise beetles came out of those icky black hairy things??? Or a different insect came from them? You got some very good pictures, lots of variety!

lotusleaf said...

Wow! What an interesting beetle! I have never seen one. Your pictures ate gorgeous.

Wendy said...

That tortoise beetle is cute! And I can see how it got its name. Sure looks like a turtle to me. LOL!
Even the colour is nice, I like red.

Stephanie said...

It's unbelievable to see beetle like these. Funny that they look like trapped inside a drop of water hehe...

Anita Kumar said...

What a pretty beetle. And they can be of different colours too.
You got so many nice shots of it.

ShySongbird said...

What a very odd looking little beetle, it has a charm all of its own. I don't think we have anything quite like that here! The photographs enlarge beautifully to show the detail.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting and fascinating photos. Thank you for sharing and good for you capturing this activity!

stardust said...

I know how you were excited to find such beetles. Very nice captures! I’ve never seen like these. They are beautiful in different colors, look like trapped in a large droplet, also look like a tiny robot with antennae. There are so many species I don’t know and I always think what I know is a tip of iceberg. Thank you for broadening my knowledge.

Judy Royal Glenn said...

Those beetles took like plastic stickers! Glad you posted these photos! I've never seen these before!