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The Golden Tortoise Beetle Has Skin Color Changing Ability Just Like A Chameleon

Charidotella sexpunctata, sometimes known as the golden tortoise beetle, is a species of beetle that belongs to the Chrysomelidae family of leaf beetles. Its origins can be traced back to the Americas.

Description

Ssp. bicolor and ssp. sexpunctata are the two subspecies of this beetle species represented here. The adult golden tortoise beetle size is 5–7 mm in length, depending on the species. They range in color from reddish-brown with black dots to bright, mirror-like gold, gaining the nickname "gold bug" for its ability to change color quickly. The borders of the elytra have been enlarged and are practically translucent.

Panamanian golden tortoise beetle sitting on the finger of a man
Panamanian golden tortoise beetle sitting on the finger of a man

Color Changing Ability

During the course of its development, during mating, and in moments of disruption, such as when it is touched by a human researcher, the color of the animal changes. The process by which this species changes color has not been investigated by scientists. However, color change in the related Panamanian Charidotella egregia (also known as the 'golden tortoise beetle') occurs when the elytra of this beetle hydrate and dehydrate, which is a process known as hydration and dehydration. When disturbed, the color of the adults of both species can change from bright gold to reddish-brown.

Are Golden Tortoise Beetles Rare?

The golden tortoise beetle is abundant in North America and can also be found in back gardens on plants such as sweet potato and morning glory. But golden tortoise beetles aren't usually so golden. In reality, they can change color in different seasons or even their mood utilizing the liquid behind their translucent shell.

When they feed on plants belonging to the family Convolvulaceae, the insects commonly known as "gold bugs" attract the attention of gardeners who are interested in their habits. Despite the fact that these insects are occasionally in large enough numbers to cause significant defoliation, they are primarily regarded as a curiosity.

Distribution

The golden tortoise beetle has a wide range of distribution in eastern North America, reaching as far west as Iowa and Texas. Tortoise beetles are one of three species of tortoise beetles that can be found in Florida.

The Life Cycle And A Brief Description

Very little biological information is available on this species, which is likely due to its low economic importance in the environment. In the northern states, there is usually only one generation per year on average. In New Jersey, the beetles appear for the first time in May or June, begin feeding on weeds and lay eggs shortly after. In July, there is a noticeable increase in the number of adults. The new adults feed for a short period of time before going into hibernation until the following spring. The time required for development from egg to adult is approximately 40 days. In Florida, the number of generations that occur each year is unknown.

Adults

The prothorax and elytra of the adult beetles are distinctive in that the margins of the prothorax and elytra are expanded, allowing the head and appendages to be completely hidden. The expanded margins are not pigmented and appear nearly transparent due to the lack of pigmentation. The beetles are relatively small, ranging in length from 5.0 to 7.0 mm in length. The color of the beetles varies slightly, but they are always orange in color, often with a golden metallic sheen, and are sometimes referred to as "gold bugs."

Eggs

The eggs are white in color and are attached singly to the underside of leaves or on stems. They are attached singly to the underside of leaves or on stems. The eggs are oval in shape and have been flattened. They are only 1 mm in length and hatch in five to ten days, depending on the species. Eggs are laid in clusters of approximately 20 eggs per cluster.

Larvae

Larvae are broad and flattened, and they are adorned with spines that are branched. Their thoracic legs are short and thick, and unlike many other chrysomelids, they do not have an anal proleg on the back of their legs. The larvae are yellowish to reddish-brown in color, depending on the stage of development.

There are three larval instars in the life cycle. The larvae have developed the habit of carrying their cast skins and fecal material attached to spines that emerge from the posterior end of their bodies, a structure known as an "anal fork," around their bodies.

A moveable anal fork is used to hold debris over the back of the body, forming a "shield" that deters predators from approaching the carcass. The larvae reach maturity in 14 to 21 days.

Pupae

Adult larvae attach themselves to leaves by their anal end and pupate as a result of this attachment. Pupae have a brownish hue to them. In the same way that larvae have spines, the pupae have spines as well. The fecal material and other debris carried by the larval stage may also remain attached to the pupa during the pupal development stage. Pupae range in length from 5 to 8 mm in length. The pupal stage lasts between seven and fourteen days on average.

Close up shot of a golden tortoise beetle sitting on a leaf
Close up shot of a golden tortoise beetle sitting on a leaf

Plants That Serve As Hosts

In addition to sweet potatoes, the golden tortoise beetle is associated with related species such as morning glory, Ipomoea spp., and bindweed, Convolvulus spp. Only plants in the family Convolvulaceae serve as hosts for this parasite.

Infliction Of Harm

In addition to feeding on foliage, larvae and adults also feed on flowers. Numerous small to medium-sized irregular holes are formed as a result of the injury, which is the most common type of injury. Most of the time, both stages live on the lower surface of the soil, but they both eat completely through the vegetation. Turtle beetles are only found in large enough numbers to be considered harmful in the wild very infrequently.

There is a video on Reddit in which these little teeny-tiny and beautiful creatures are in the hand of a person. And then they start flying. Check out some of the comments below to know what people think about them.

"DARPA surveillance drones."\

_DarkAngel900

"LOL I know they're beetles. I'm kind of a nature buff. If darpa wanted to make surveillance drones cockroaches and June bugs would probably be better disguises."

_DarkAngel900

"I can't believe it, a Richard Scarry character come to life."

_Turbulent_Ad1667

Conclusion

The application of insecticides to the foliage is a simple method of controlling larvae and adults of the golden tortoise beetle, but this is rarely necessary.

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