Reddish Tortoise Beetles

4mm | January 17, 2011 | Cahuita National Park, Limon Province, Costa Rica

There were quite a few of these reddish tortoise beetles feeding on this banana plant.

Banana plant

They feed on the large leaves, scarring them in a distinctive way.

Sign from feeding

Here you can see one munching its way forward, carefully feeding only between the leaf veins.

Machinelike feeding precision

Did you notice the little hitchhiker above? Looks like some sort of parasitic wasp to me. I suspect this is probably a female beetle, and the wasp is just hanging out until she lays eggs, which the wasp will then parasitize. Here’s a closer look.

Parasitic wasp closeup

They’d often fly away from me once I started taking pictures, but it was no trouble to find another one.

Another individual

I like their furry little feet.


Update: Marshall’s 500 Insects has a photo of a similar looking tortoise beetle, identified as a Spaethiella species.

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5 Responses to Reddish Tortoise Beetles

  1. Great photoessay. I like the ‘machinelike feeding precision’ photo.

  2. Comment1 says:

    They look like they’re wearing little clown shoes. I say little, but those feet actually look pretty big.

  3. Pingback: Antique, Victorian Brooch made with actual Tortoise Beetles | What's That Bug?

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  5. phan tom says:

    Họ trông giống như họ đang mặc đôi giày hề

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