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Mottled Tortoise Beetle (Deloyala guttata)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Mottled Tortoise Beetle



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Image Credit: Carla M. from MO
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Image Credit: Marilyn B. from OH
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The Mottled Tortoise Beetle looks like a smaller, metallic version of its namesake with glassy edges around its 'shell'.



Updated: 05/14/2020; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Rounded insect body icon
Shiny insect icon




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Chrysomelidae
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          Genus: Deloyala
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            Species: guttata
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Deloyala guttata
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 7mm (0.19" to 0.27")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: gold, black, brown, green, orange, yellow
Descriptors: metallic, shiny, round, flying, colorful, spotted, translucent, see-through, oval
Relative Size Comparison
Typical Range Between 5mm and 7mm
Lo: 5mm
Md: 6mm
Hi: 7mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
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Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Mottled Tortoise Beetle may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Mottled Tortoise Beetle. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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