Golden Tortoise Beetle

This garden curiosity can change color under stress.

golden-tortoise-beetle

Turn over a morning glory leaf in summer and early fall, and you might see a tiny, golden, almost jewel-like beetle.

Gold bugs, as golden tortoise beetles are often called, feed on the undersides of morning glory and sweet potato leaves. Their larvae are also found there. Distinctively different in appearance from the adults, the larvae are covered in spines, over which is distributed fecal matter and castings from earlier moltings.

golden-tortoise-beetle-orange

The golden tortoise beetle retains its gold color as long as all is well in its life. When disturbed, it turns a dull reddish-orange with black spots. When its dies, it's the same reddish orange.

The golden tortoise beetle (Charidotella sexpunctata bicolor) is generally not viewed as a serious pest.

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