Home / Leaf Beetles (Chrysomelidae) / Clavate Tortoise Beetle (Plagiometriona clavata)

Clavate Tortoise Beetle (Plagiometriona clavata)

Clavate tortoise beetle belongs to the subfamily of tortoise and leaf-mining beetles (Cassidinae) of the leaf beetle family. They are found in major parts of North America and live up to their name since these beetles replicate a tortoise’s shape.

Clavate Tortoise Beetle

Scientific Classification

  • Family: Chrysomelidae
  • Genus: Cassida
  • Scientific name: Plagiometriona clavata

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 6.5 – 7.5 mm (0.25 – 0.29 inches)

Color: It looks golden, brown, or brassy green when alive. However, after death, it attains a yellowish-brown or tan coloration with dark markings.

Other Characteristic Features: They have an oval and convex body that appears like a dome, with a cone-shaped peak towards the center. Their pronotum (plate-like feature covering the thorax fully or partially) and elytra are large, covering the entire body like a shield. Some of their other features include a translucent carapace and long, narrow antennae.

Plagiometriona clavata

Larva

It has a green body, with a flattened and fringed appearance. Its specialty lies in the fecal fork in the last segment of its abdomen. Though the shield does not hide the larva from its enemy, it acts as a defense mechanism, protecting itself against predators.

Clavate Tortoise Beetle Larva

Pupa

Information about the pupa is undocumented. However, the pupal phase begins after the 5th or 6th instar stage of the larva ends.

Clavate Tortoise Beetle Pupa

Egg

The eggs hatch a couple of days later from when they are laid on the host plants.   

Clavate Tortoise Beetle Eggs

Quick Information

Lifespan3- 4 weeks approximately, like most other tortoise beetle species though the exact period is not recorded 
DistributionArizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico
HabitatAgricultural farms, and urban gardens, alongside meadows, forests, grasslands, and every other place where its host plant grows
Common PredatorsAnt, beetles, spiders (particularly in their larval stage)
Seasons active fromThroughout summer
Host PlantsPlants of the Solanaceae family (Solanum dulcamara, Solanum carolinense, Solanum tuberosum, Solanum pseudogracile
Diet  of larva and adult Mostly the leaves of their host plants
Clavate Tortoise

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

Though they consume leaves of individual plants, no records of extensive damage have been obtained yet.

Did You Know

  • Besides the scientific name Plagiometriona clavata, it has also been referred to as Coptocycla clavata, Deloyala clavata, and Cassida clavata, thus resulting in a lot of confusion.
  • Like most other beetle species, the adults of the Clavate tortoise beetles too communicate with one another through chemical and visual cues.
Clavate Tortoise Picture

Image Source: objects.liquidweb.services, objects.liquidweb.services, a4.pbase.com, bugguide.net, lh3.googleusercontent.com, deviantart.com

Clavate tortoise beetle belongs to the subfamily of tortoise and leaf-mining beetles (Cassidinae) of the leaf beetle family. They are found in major parts of North America and live up to their name since these beetles replicate a tortoise’s shape.

Clavate Tortoise Beetle

Physical Description and Identification

Adult

Size: 6.5 – 7.5 mm (0.25 – 0.29 inches)

Color: It looks golden, brown, or brassy green when alive. However, after death, it attains a yellowish-brown or tan coloration with dark markings.

Other Characteristic Features: They have an oval and convex body that appears like a dome, with a cone-shaped peak towards the center. Their pronotum (plate-like feature covering the thorax fully or partially) and elytra are large, covering the entire body like a shield. Some of their other features include a translucent carapace and long, narrow antennae.

Plagiometriona clavata

Larva

It has a green body, with a flattened and fringed appearance. Its specialty lies in the fecal fork in the last segment of its abdomen. Though the shield does not hide the larva from its enemy, it acts as a defense mechanism, protecting itself against predators.

Clavate Tortoise Beetle Larva

Pupa

Information about the pupa is undocumented. However, the pupal phase begins after the 5th or 6th instar stage of the larva ends.

Clavate Tortoise Beetle Pupa

Egg

The eggs hatch a couple of days later from when they are laid on the host plants.   

Clavate Tortoise Beetle Eggs

Quick Information

Lifespan3- 4 weeks approximately, like most other tortoise beetle species though the exact period is not recorded 
DistributionArizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Texas, Tennessee, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico
HabitatAgricultural farms, and urban gardens, alongside meadows, forests, grasslands, and every other place where its host plant grows
Common PredatorsAnt, beetles, spiders (particularly in their larval stage)
Seasons active fromThroughout summer
Host PlantsPlants of the Solanaceae family (Solanum dulcamara, Solanum carolinense, Solanum tuberosum, Solanum pseudogracile
Diet  of larva and adult Mostly the leaves of their host plants
Clavate Tortoise

Identifying the Damage Caused by Them

Though they consume leaves of individual plants, no records of extensive damage have been obtained yet.

Did You Know

  • Besides the scientific name Plagiometriona clavata, it has also been referred to as Coptocycla clavata, Deloyala clavata, and Cassida clavata, thus resulting in a lot of confusion.
  • Like most other beetle species, the adults of the Clavate tortoise beetles too communicate with one another through chemical and visual cues.
Clavate Tortoise Picture

Image Source: objects.liquidweb.services, objects.liquidweb.services, a4.pbase.com, bugguide.net, lh3.googleusercontent.com, deviantart.com

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