The Mottled Tortoise Beetle looks like a smaller, metallic version of its namesake with glassy edges around its 'shell'.
The Mottled Tortoise Beetle is a member of the Leaf Beetle family. It is found on morning glory flowers, leaves, and vines as well as milkweed plants. Their spiny, flat larvae look more like little dark centipedes and they eat these plants while they grow and develop into rounder, shiny adults. Though they may punch holes into the leaves of the plants, they rarely cause enough harm to damage or kill the plant unless it is young or a seedling. They are not considered an agricultural pest or threat.
Females lay clusters of fertilized eggs (about 15 at a time) on the bottoms of leaves, and larvae hide under piles of beetle feces mixed with old, molted exoskeletons. They will pupate under this gross little shelter and emerge adults.
Mottled Tortoise Beetles can be found in gardens, meadows, fields, parks, and even on the sides of roads and highways. They are most active in the spring and summer months. Adults will overwinter. Though quite small, they are prolific and found in almost every part of North America. Several generations every year are possible in the warmer, southern states.
Scientific Name: Deloyala guttata
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 7mm (0.20in to 0.27in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.