Larva, Chrysomelidae, Tribe Cassidini

Tortoise Beetles

Tortoise Beetle Larva with fecal shield


The larvae of the Tortoise Beetles have developed an ingenious defense. They have evolved a fork-like mechanism that holds a "fecal shield" the larva fashions from its excrement. When a predator approaches, the larvae manipulates the shield so that the predator invariably faces fecal material rather than the tempting soft body of the beetle larva!

The photo shows a second defense common in Tortoise Beetles, and that is a series of formidable spines along the sides.

As with other members of the Chrysomelidae, Tortoise Beetle larvae tend to be host-specific, preferring one plant species or group of species on which to feed and develop.