Golden Tortoise Beetle (Charidotella sexpunctata)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Golden Tortoise Beetle.
Updated: 8/12/2014; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The lustrous Golden Tortoise Beetle gnaws on some garden favorites, but its unusual color often affords it a home in the backyard.
Few insects boast a gold body. This is one that can actually change its coloring at will thanks to the microscopic cavities in its cuticle that house pigmentation. The sheen can be dulled; the gold can become brown. Upon death, the metallic glimmer is lost. The edges of the beetle are transparent, like glass.
The shiny, metallic Golden Tortoise Beetle is one of many Tortoise Beetles that feed on popular garden vines. Morning glory, sweet potato vines, bindweed and other plants in the Convulvulaceae family. The adults and larvae chew on leaves and flowers, giving the plants a less-than-perfect appearance. The amount of damage is mild, though, and it rarely causes the plant to die. Many gardeners keep the beetles around just to look at them.
Eggs are laid in the spring. Larvae hatch and immediately begin eating the foliage of the plant they are on. They are round like adults, but are usually a pale greenish color and have a fringe bordering their entire body. They will molt a few times before taking on their adult form. Larvae tend to drag their old 'skins' at their rear until they finally pupate on a leaf. The adults feed in the autumn and overwinter.