Reddish Tortoise Beetles

February 13th, 2011 - 11:19 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 4 Comments

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.

Portrait

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

500 Insects:
A Visual Reference

by Stephen A. Marshall

4 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. [...] did find a similar looking red Tortoise Beetle from Costa Rica on the Nature Closeups website that is identified as being in the genus Spaethiella.  We also found a gorgeous blue and [...]

  4. [...] not quite as sharp as I’d like, but just look at all those little colorful scales.” & Reddish Tortoise Beetles: “There were quite a few of these reddish tortoise beetles feeding on this banana [...]

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