If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

My photo

I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

20 June, 2011

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they appear to have a complete casing with no real visible head giving the impression of a tortoise with its head withdrawn into its shell.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.