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Fleabane Tortoise Beetle (Cassida murraea) | by Peter Orchard
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Fleabane Tortoise Beetle (Cassida murraea)

A small selection of the leaf beetles (chrysomeidae) are known as 'tortoise' beetles because they appear to have a complete casing with no real visible head giving the impression of a tortoise with its head withdrawn into its shell. Leaf beetles are small and can resemble ladybirds and this is probably true of this one, the Fleabane Tortoise Beetle.


The Fleabane Tortoise Beetle spends its entire life eating the leaves of the common late summer flowering plant, Fleabane. Just imagine, the same for breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper every day of its life and possibly living on the same leaf day after day!


It has a reddish orange colour to its casing with dark spots, hence its likeness to a ladybird but close up it becomes obvious the abdomen is a different shape and the thorax is noticeably separated from the abdomen whereas the ladybird is, on the face of it, one complete unit.


Not uncommon but easily overlooked, watch out for this little beetle on the leaves of Fleabane when you are out and about.

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Taken on June 7, 2011