* Common name: golden tortoise beetle
* Scientific name: Charidotella (=Metriona) bicolor (Fabricius) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)
It is one of the most striking insects. The golden tortoise beetle is a stunning, vibrant metallic gold color. It has a magical quality, not only because of the brilliance of its color, but also because the brilliance isn't permanent. Metriona can alter color within a short time period, turning from brilliant gold to a dull, spotty reddish color(- When disturbed, the color becomes orange with black spots-). The gold color also fades when the insect dies. What controls the color while the insect is alive is an intriguing question, but one for which I have no answer. [The gold color is caused by a thin layer of moisture between the cuticle and an inner layer of the elytra. Apparently the insect is able to "voluntarily" squeeze this layer, reducing its thickness and eliminating the gold color. This change also occurs involuntarily when the beetle is under moisture stress, and, of course, when it dies.
A bit smaller than the more familiar ladybird beetles, the golden tortoise beetle is configured somewhat like a safari hat with a narrow "shelf" skirting the outside of the wing covers and thorax. This "shelf" causes the resemblance to a tortoise, hence the name.