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Aug 18 2012

Anti-Caturday post

Hey, little Golden Tortoise Beetle, you’re looking adorable!

That’s a nice shiny Golden Tortoise Beetle, I love that little transparent shell over your shiny goldenness.

Golden Tortoise Beetle, you’re so shy and cute. Peep out from under your shiny carapace. Yes, you peep out, you little buggy-wuggy.

Watcha doin’, Golden Tortoise Beetle?

Golden Tortoise Beetle, you’re looking adorable!

I like Golden Tortoise Beetles!

52 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    you little buggy-wuggy.

    That’s too cutesy-wootsy.

  2. 2
    sabazinus

    Apparently they like to eat morning glory leaves. I may have to plant some just to attract the beetles.

  3. 3
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Very much full of awesomeness

  4. 4
    pensnest

    Oooh, *shiny*!

  5. 5
    Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought

    *squee*

    Khm. This might be the cutest beetle I’ve ever seen.

  6. 6
    brazenlucidity

    Sniny!

  7. 7
    Sili

    Who are you, and what have you done with PZed?

  8. 8
    Algonquin on the Bayou a/k/a Sharon

    They would make great earrings.

  9. 9
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    First two images, I was wondering why you had posted photos of a beetle encased in plastic. Looked like a miniature paperweight.

    Cute (and weird) beetle. Obviously intelligently designed. No way could that have evolved from a pony!

  10. 10
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Damn these beetles and what they’ve done to the formerly frozen cockles of my heart.

  11. 11
    Emu Sam

    Are you testing ways of convincing people with parasites in their brains that the things of which the parasites have convinced them are false?

  12. 12
    Marcus Ranum

    No way could that have evolved from a pony!

    If there are golden tortoise beetles, why are there still tortoises? Huh? Wiseass evilutionist, I stumped you, huh?

  13. 13
    Larry

    Not being particularly interested in beetles, I find this one, in the words of the Great Vulcan, to be fascinating. Doing a little research on this bug, I discovered this interesting little nugget (get it? golden. nugget? Ha!).

    golden tortoise beetle copulation could last anywhere between 15 to 583 minutes

    Not bad for the little guys ‘n gals!

  14. 14
    earlycuyler

    Meh. I could duct tape a clear plastic dinner plate to my cat’s back and get the same thing, only bigger. Wouldn’t be worth the massive loss of blood and trip to the hospital though.

  15. 15
    Louis

    If there are golden tortoise beetles, why are there still tortoises? Huh? Wiseass evilutionist, I stumped you, huh?

    Not to mention, why is there still gold?

    Louis

  16. 16
    procyon

    I thought the first picture was a toy. Never seen or heard of a tortoise beetle. There’s always something new under the sun.

  17. 17
    ChasCPeterson

    I like Golden Tortoise Beetles!

    bah. You know who else likes beetles?

    YHWH, that’s who. Inordinately.

    Me, I like turtles.

  18. 18
    damonbradshaw

    Did PZ just inadvertently post the text to the book he’s been working on?

  19. 19
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Awww. I think a lot of bugs are cute, but that little face just made me coo at the screen. So cute! And now, I want some gold nail polish. Your nature posts inspire more of my fashion than they maybe should, PZ.

  20. 20
    pipenta

    What Sharon said.

    If only I could train a pair to sit on my earlobes.

    The only problem is, these are tidy little post earring beetles like what accounts types wear. I’m a creative. I need hanging earrings. So what I really want are a pair of tamed “Cicindela sexguttata”. They’d sink their formidable little mandibles into my earlobes just so, and dangle.

    Six-spotted tiger beetles aren’t only sparkly, they’re bright green and FIERCE!

  21. 21
    Glen Davidson

    Dressed fit for a vault.

    Glen Davidson

  22. 22
    pipenta

    FWIW, one of these things* is not like the other.

    *Critters in 4th photo.

  23. 23
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    I like Golden Tortoise Beetles!

    Now I do too!

    I’m so not a bug person, but I couldn’t help going “awwwwwwwe!”

  24. 24
    Charly

    The mating pair seem to me as different species, they have significantly different shape. I remember seeing something about these on WEIT not so long time ago. Are there any entomologists around who could confirm/correct this notion?

    But they all are cute little buggers, that is for sure.

  25. 25
    MG Myers

    Fun Fact:
    Golden tortoise beetles can change color.

    They can change color, looking initially like tiny jewels, or golden ladybugs, but can alter the reflectivity of the cuticle so the outer layers become clear, revealing a ladybug type of red coloring with black spots. This color change is accomplished by microscopic valves controlling the moisture levels under the shell. Various populations of this beetle also have black markings obscuring the underlying colors to various degrees, and it is this variation in appearance that has led to the use of multiple names for this species.

  26. 26
    Algonquin on the Bayou a/k/a Sharon

    When you see something like this, you realize how pathetically unimaginative creatures invented by science fiction writers are.

  27. 27
    Musca Domestica

    The captions are golden :D I like Golden Tortoise Beetles!

    sharon:

    They would make great earrings.

    I so want to make jewelry with these. But that’s my reaction to very many things…

  28. 28
    skeptifem

    AWW the captions make this post so much cuter.

  29. 29
    fabianocaccin

    you little buggy-wuggy.

    Timey wimey.

    When you see something like this, you realize how pathetically unimaginative creatures invented by science fiction writers are..

    Yes.
    With the exception of shoggoths (if that is the correct plural form)

  30. 30
    cyberCMDR

    Talk about being bitten by the gold bug!

    I wonder how this plays out in natural selection. Having a sniny exterior would be counterproductive if birds found them appetizing.

  31. 31
    Inaji

    Wow. And here I thought ambush bugs were odd critters. I’ll have to pay more attention to all the Morning Glory around here.

  32. 32
    a3kr0n

    It looks like a piece of jewelery.
    I like shiny things!

  33. 33
    Tethys

    These are the coolest beetles!

    You won’t find them on morning glories though, I get them on the ornamental sweet potato Ipomea batatas varieties with chartreuse foliage.

    That last photo is awesome, considering how small they are.

  34. 34
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    golden tortoise beetle copulation could last anywhere between 15 to 583 minutes

    Which, when one considers just how short their life expectency is, would translate to a human spending a copule of months for one screw. I wonder if they get the same warnings we get on TV? The one about, ‘if your erection lasts longer than 4 hours . . .’?

  35. 35
    frankb

    When I showed these photos to a coworker, she immediately thought of a James Bond type spy device. James probably has a selection of these in a case in his pocket.

  36. 36
    computerguy

    I’m surprised that nobody else has thought of the Edgar Alan Power story.

  37. 37
    ChasCPeterson

    post #36: real or poe?

  38. 38
    salahhesali

    Omg, there is only one thing that would make them cuter: if they were cats.

  39. 39
    aspidoscelis

    Re #24 from Charly & #22 from pipenta:

    Yeah. I’m not an entomologist, but I occasionally play one in real life. Definitely two species we’re dealing with in these images. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 5th images are apparently clavate tortoise beetles (Plagiometriona clavata) which, FWIW, I’ve seen eating Datura in New Mexico. The first image there is even on bugguide.net as Plagiometriona clavata:

    http://bugguide.net/node/view/671427/bgimage

    The 4th image probably is in fact a golden tortoise beetle (Charidotella sexguttata). Apparently the image is taken from here:

    http://magickcanoe.com/blog/2008/07/04/precious-metals/

  40. 40
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    MG Myers @ #25: So, they’re pretty much the coolest ever, then.

  41. 41
    aspidoscelis

    Okay, I think I was wrong calling 1, 2, 3, & 5 Plagiometriona clavata. It looks as though they are more likely in the genus Aspidomorpha (e.g., Aspidomorpha santaecrucis, which apparently does not have a commonly-used English name beyond “tortoise beetle”). Anyways, English names aren’t always particularly meaningful… and don’t trust insect taxonomy from random web aggregator websites (apparently all images here were taken from one of several web aggregators – they all appear at 9wows.com, smilorama.com, etc.).

    Also, in light of the recent kerfuffle about Justin Vacula’s use of one of Surly Amy’s images, it’s worth asking if this kind of uncredited use of images (of unknown copyright status, etc.) culled from web aggregators is really something we’re collectively “OK” with. At least Vacula credited Amy and linked to the source; although I don’t know much about the legality of the situation, my feeling is that ethically this makes his use much more defensible than this.

  42. 42
    harbo

    Insects this demonstrative are usually venomous, toxic, or smelly.

  43. 43
    chris

    They eat my most hated weed: bindweed! I want them! Actually I want them in my backyard neighbor’s yard. They paved their backyard, but left some dirt under what seemed to be a bench area. The bindweed (also known as field morning glory) grows unimpeded there, and pokes through the fence.

    I spent three years getting rid of that stuff in my previous house, but it does not help when the neighbors ignore this noxious weed (it is on the county’s noxious weed list).

  44. 44
    lurker42

    There’s Golden Tortoise Beetle yarn if you want to knit one:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/77181575@N06/7160114472/in/photostream

    The company is Cephalopod Yarn so it’s double appropriate, I’d say.

  45. 45
    lurker42

    Dammit. Cephalopod Yarns.

    http://cephalopodyarns.com/

    [/delurk]

  46. 46
    pensnest

    lurker42, you are a cruel, cruel person. My life is now incomplete. I do not possess… oh, at least three dozen of those fabulous yarns. :-(

  47. 47
    lurker42

    Yes, I am. But I spelled it ‘crewel’.

    I will not be satisfied until everyone suffers the same unfulfilled longing as I do; to possess all the hand-painted, luxury yarns.

  48. 48
    pensnest

    lurker42, there is a yarn in that collection called Vampire Squid. This is Unfair!

  49. 49
    Ichthyic

    You won’t find them on morning glories though, I get them on the ornamental sweet potato Ipomea batatas varieties with chartreuse foliage.

    interesting. that, combined with the note that they also eat Datura…

    all those belong to the same family of plants, do they not?

    my guess would be these little guys are pretty toxic, and the bright colors might be aposematic.

  50. 50
    Ichthyic

    yup:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanaceae

    when you get a species that tends to focus on eating toxic plants, there’s typically a reason for that.

  51. 51
    mothra

    #39 beat me to it, although I suspect there are three species here, #’s 1-3, #4 and #5. Being a lepidopterist rather than a coleopterist, I’ll leave it to the beetle people. However, beetles sure must be inordinately fond of fooling people into believing there is a god.

  52. 52
    Tethys

    interesting. that, combined with the note that they also eat Datura…

    all those belong to the same family of plants, do they not?

    They are both commonly called potatoes, but Ipomoea is a member of the Convolvulaceae family.

    Datura is a member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family, which includes tomatoes, and potatoes.

    I’ve never had the Golden Tortoise Beetle on the Datura. They do host three lined potato beetles, which have the most disgusting larvae ever.
    (and I like bugs!)
    Larval Beetles Form a Defense from Recycled Host-Plant Chemicals Discharged as Fecal Wastes

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