Golden Tortoise Beetle

Aspidimorpha or Charidotella

a tortoise beetle, Cassidinae, from Mombasa, Kenya, photo © by Michael Plagens

Beach Morning Glory, Ipomoea pes-caprae, growing at Mombasa, Kenya, had many larvae and adults of this leaf beetle feeding upon the foliage. January 2012.

Tortoise Beetles are amazing to look at. The adult beetles often are so metalic that one could believe they are items of jewelry. Like a reptilian tortoise, their shell offers considerable protection against predators. When threatened the beetle's feet cling to a smooth leaf surface with powerful forces and pull the shell down all around leaving just a slick impenetrable surface exposed.

Golden Tortoise Beetle Larva, Chrysomelidae, tribe Cassidinae, Kenya, photo © Michael Plagens

Both the larvae (grubs) and adults feed on leaves of various plants. This one has a preference for plants in the morning glory family (convolvulaceae) including cultivated sweet potatoes. The larvae have barbed spines on their dorsum and posterior that can hold fecal material and cast exoskeletons. This is designed to deter or hide from would-be predaotors.

Chrysomelidae -- Leaf Beetle Family
Cassidinae -- Tortoise Beetles

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 19 April 2012