Turtle beetle: an amazing insect from Southeast Asia

There are many amazing and unusual species in the world of insects. One of them is Aspidimorpha sanctaecrucis, better known as the turtle beetle. This beetle from the leaf-eating family is remarkable for its hard elytra, which form a kind of shell, as well as its ability to change color depending on the season and external factors.

Description of the turtle beetle

The turtle beetle has hard elytra with special growths on the edges, which protrude far beyond the body and form a kind of shell. The elytra are devoid of pigments and almost transparent, unlike the torso itself. The insect often displays a specific metallic luster that makes it look golden.

However, the most amazing thing about this beetle is its ability to change its coloration. Aspidimorpha sanctaecrucis changes the color of its elytra by regulating the level of moisture. When moisture disappears, the insect becomes reddish orange. It no longer has a golden color. The same happens when the beetle dies.

The tortoise beetle is also known for its ability to hide from predators. To avoid being seen by other insects, it clings very tightly to the leaf surface, completely merging with it.

Distribution and feeding

The turtle beetle is found in Southeast Asia. Both adults and larvae feed on plants of the creeper family, mainly Ipomea species. Insects are rarely so numerous as to cause serious harm. Most often, traces of their life activity become visible by numerous gnawed holes on the surface of leaves, while the insects themselves prefer to be on the underside.

Larvae of the turtle beetle also look unusual. Their bodies are flattened, covered with numerous appendages, and have an unusual projection at the end, made of sloughing skin and feces.


The turtle beetle is an amazing insect that is striking for its hard elytra, its ability to change color, and its ability to hide from predators. Although these insects are not serious plant pests, they are an interesting subject for researchers to study.

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