Monday, 21 September 2015

Day 312 - Beauty of the Mini-Beasts Part 11 - Green Tortoise Beetle

Green Tortoise Beetle
Hey everyone, today's Day 312 and yesterday I went on a lovely walk along the River Swale with a great person I met at Birdfair called Dr. Roger Key. While I was at Birdfair, we did a bug hunt with David Lindo, but I also found out that Roger and I live quite close to each other. Roger is a great Entomologist, he knows so much about so many insects its totally amazing. He's been lucky enough to work with all sorts of famous people including David Attenbrough and has worked in all sorts of countries including Antarctica! That sounds like a great job and one I'd like to do. Anyway, he suggested we go for a walk so we went on a walk along the River Swale. We didn't expect to find loads of bugs as it was a bit of a cool day but we still found quite a lot including this creature for today's post. This came off of a bunch of thistles and I took it home to get a close look under my microscope. Today I'm covering a Green Tortoise Beetle.

So what did I find out about them?
I tried to get a bugs eye view, it sort of worked

  • These little creatures are up to 8mm long so are one of the smallest beetles I've covered.
  • The light in my pictures is a bit funny under the microscope but they are a lovely lime green colour which is great for camouflaging themselves on plants.
  • They feed on White Dead Nettle, Hedge Woundwort and Water Mint, so my research told me, but this one came off a thistle so they must like those too!
  • Now you might ask why a lime green beetle is named after a brown tortoise? It's not because they look alike it's because they behave in a similar way.
  • If this beetle is disturbed is acts just like a tortoise. it pulls in it's antennae and feet and pulls it's shell down and grips onto the plant to protect itself.
The shells have lots of pits in
  • These creatures are found mainly in the south and get more scarce north of the Humber. There are very few sightings recorded in Ireland.
  • The main season for these Beetles is June to August but they can be found from April to September.
  • Their preferred habitats are open areas, like farmland, grass land and heathland but they also like wooded areas.
  • Their lifecycle is four stages, egg, larvae, pupa, adult. I found a great youtube video on this which you can see below
  • Tortoise beetles as a group are quite easy to identify but a lot of the species are quite similar and hard to tell apart,
It was hard to find out much more on these lovely creatures but try these links:

A big thank you to Roger and his wife Rosie for taking me on such a great walk.

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment: