This is a video and five pictures of the Golden Tortoise Beetle, a beetle that has legs.
Have you seen these gold specks with legs? Golden tortoise beetles (Charidotella sexpunctata). They resemble ladybird beetles and feed on various types of plants worldwide. Their name comes from their unusual construction, especially their hardened wing covers that protect their wings.
Golden tortoise beetles look like ladybug beetles (Coccinellidae), but they are actually leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae), a huge family with 37,000 members all over the world.
Tortoise beetles derive their comical moniker from their elytra, which have a flattened ridge surrounding the body and covering the head and legs, much like a tortoise. An entomologist thinks this allows them to crouch down and tuck in when they’re being chased by an animal.
The golden tortoise beetle is prevalent throughout North America, especially on sweet potatoes and morning glories. They aren’t always golden tortoises. Their liquid within their translucent shell can change color to match the season or even their mood. Each of the three layers of cuticle beneath the shell is covered with small pits and holes that appear smooth when wet and reflect light precisely. There are small spaces between the layers of cuticle in a golden tortoise beetle’s skin when it is afraid or afraid. When this happens, liquid comes out of the grooves and reveals a brownish-orange tint.
Golden tortoise beetles also change color depending on liquid layer availability. During the dry months, the insects turn orange and bronze with iridescent flashes. Adult beetles have enlarged prothorax and elytra borders, largely hiding the head and appendages. The widened edges are nearly transparent. The beetles are tiny, ranging from 5.0 to 7.0 mm. The insects are orange in hue, frequently shiny, and are termed “goldbugs” by some.
The eggs are whitish and adhere individually to the underside of leaves or stems. Oval and flattened eggs They are 1 mm long and hatch after 5–10 days. Eggs are laid in 20 egg clusters. Larvae: Larvae are broad, flattened, and spined. Their thoracic legs are broad and short, and they lack an anal proleg. The larva is yellowish-reddish brown in hue. Three larval stages exist. The larvae carry their cast skins and feces on spines at the back of their bodies, termed anal forks. The anal fork is moveable and is used to suspend detritus over the back of the body to prevent predators. They mature in 14–21 days. The Terra Explorer Project has a video of a larva making a fecal shield.
Adults and larvae eat leaves. The most common type of injury is multiple small-to-medium-sized irregular holes. Both stages normally live below the surface, but devour the leaves. Tortoise beetles are rarely destructive. North American golden tortoise beetle populations vary greatly in appearance, leading to confusion and various names for the same species. Many have black markings on their shells, giving them the appearance of a golden ladybird beetle.