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Tortoise Beetle
(John Obermeyer, Purdue University)
Common Name: Tortoise Beetle

Order: Coleoptera

Family: Chrysomelidae

Pest Status: Tortoise beetles are not considered pests.

Appearance: Adults are conspicuous, oblong-oval beetles that are gold in color with various black or red markings, depending on the species. Their bodies are slightly flattened and squared at the shoulders; they have a shell-like appearance. Body margins extend in a roof-like manner (like a tortoise shell) over much of the head and legs.

Life Cycle: Tortoise beetles overwinter as adults under bark or leaf litter. In the spring, the beetles emerge and feed on hosts. Female adults deposit clusters of eggs on the undersides of leaves. The larvae emerge within a week. After feeding for an additional three weeks, the larvae transform into pupae. A week later, the new adults emerge.

Where to Collect: Tortoise beetles can be found on host plants where their immature stages have fed. Search in areas where the leaves have been damaged by minute holes.