clavate tortoise beetle

(Plagiometriona clavata)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

clavate tortoise beetle

 

NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Occurrence

Fairly common

Flight/Season

 

Habitat

 

Size

Total Length: ¼ to 5 16

          Photo by Alfredo Colon

Identification

Clavate tortoise beetle is fairly common in North and Central America. In the United States it occurs from the northeast to the Great Plains. It is easily recognized by the wrinkled upper surface with a dark teddy bear-like pattern.

Adults are tortoise-shaped, ¼ to 5 16 (6.5 to 7.5 mm) long, 3 16 to ¼ (5.5 to 6.3 mm) wide, oval when viewed from above, and convex when viewed from the side. The female is larger than the male.

The upper thoracic plate (pronotum) and hardened wing covers (elytra) are green and translucent. The edges are spread out, flattened, and thin, and extend over the head and legs. The front (anterior) edge of the pronotum is broadly rounded. A large, opaque, dark brown spot covers most of the elytra and extends onto the pronotum. The spot resembles a teddy bear, with the the teddy bear’s “head” on the pronotum and the front and hind “legs” reaching the elytral margins. The plate between the wing bases (scutellum) is also dark brown. There is also at least some gold coloration adjacent to the edges of the brown spot. The upper surface of the elytra is very rough with wrinkles, rounded projections, and a prominent peak in the middle behind the scutellum.

The head is completely concealed when viewed from above. The eyes are not notched. The antennae are long but less than half as long as the body. They are mostly pale but some of the terminal segments are black. Segment 3 is slightly longer than segment 2, and segment 8 is distinctly longer than wide. The antennae are extended when at rest. There is no groove on the underside of the prothorax for them to be tucked into. The plate on the face above the mouth (clypeus) is completely horizontal.

The last part of each leg (tarsus), corresponding to the foot, has five segments. The fourth segment is very short and is concealed within the broadened tip of the third segment, making the tarsus appear to have only four segments. The last segment bears a pair of claws. The dilation at the base of each claw is angular.

 
Similar
Species

 


Larval Food

 

 
Adult Food

Groundcherry (Physalis spp.) and nightshade (Solanum spp.)

 
Life Cycle

 

 
Behavior

Adults eat round holes in the leaves.

The larvae carry dried fecal matter over their body, presumably as a form of camouflage. The fecal matter is attached to a forked appendage on the last abdominal segment, and is held suspended over the body.


Distribution Distribution Map  

Sources: 24, 29, 30.


Comments

Taxonomy
ITIS treats Plagiometriona clavata as a synonym of Helocassis clavata.


Taxonomy

Order:

Coleoptera (beetles)

 

Suborder:

Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf and snout beetles)

 

Infraorder:

Cucujiformia

 

Superfamily:

Chrysomeloidea (long-horned and leaf beetles)

 

Family:

Chrysomelidae (leaf beetles)

 

Subfamily:

Cassidinae (tortoise beetles and the hispines)

 

Tribe:

Cassidini (tortoise beetles)

 
Subordinate Taxa

clavate tortoise beetle (Plagiometriona clavata clavata)

clavate tortoise beetle (Plagiometriona clavata testudinaria)

 
Synonyms

Helocassis clavata

 
Common
Names

clavate tortoise beetle

translucent tortoise beetle


 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Clypeus

On insects, a hardened plate on the face above the upper lip (labrum).

 

Elytra

The hardened forewings on an insect used to protect the fragile hindwings, which are used for flying, in beetles and true bugs.

 

Pronotum

The saddle-shaped, exoskeletal plate on the upper side of the first segment of the thorax of an insect.

 

Scutellum

The exoskeletal plate covering the rearward (posterior) part of the middle segment of the thorax in some insects. In Coleoptera, Hemiptera, and Homoptera, the dorsal, often triangular plate behind the pronotum and between the bases of the front wings. In Diptera, the exoskeletal plate between the abdomen and the thorax.

 

Tarsus

The last two to five subdivisions of an insect’s leg, attached to the tibia; the foot. Plural: tarsi.

 

 

 

 

 

       

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Alfredo Colon


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  Clavate Tortoise Beetle (Plagiometriona clavata)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Clavate Tortoise Beetle (Plagiometriona clavata)  

 

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About

Published on May 26, 2012

Behold my first Clavate Tortoise Beetle! I have seen this interesting insect in my insect book for decades and FINALLY get to see a real one. Of course, as with any unique looking insect, I only found ONE.

 
     

 

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Alfredo Colon
7/12/2018

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

clavate tortoise beetle


     
     
 

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