A closer look at the wild things in a New England back yard and beyond
I'm going to say Tortoise Beetle, even though I've not seen one with quite that pattern. I looked at this post last week, but got interrupted before I could comment and then almost forgot to check back.
These are fun! We think this is a beetle -- we think that we read about them on Ted's Beetles in the Bush site, and we saw our first one this year. As much as we're busting our brains, though, we can't think what it's called. It has a sort of mysterious name that fit is so well . . . wait! A tortoise beetle, that's it! Clavate?
Yes, it's the Clavate Tortoise beetle (Plagiometriona clavata). We see them on a fairly regular basis here all summer long. Who can forget that teddy bear pattern on its back? They're tiny--just about 7mm -- with a clear carapace and the bumpy looking darker "bear" pattern. It closely resembles a teeny turtle. Despite their endearing appearance, these little guys are leaf beetles who love tomato and broccoli leaves. I did find another type of tortoise beetle - the Golden, which prefers morning glories. Unfortunately, it flew away before I was able to photograph it. The neat thing about the Goldens is their gold green irridenscence which they can turn on and off as they please. One moment they look like gold liquid drops, then suddenly they turn off the shine and they're just plain and dull. Thanks for playing!