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Tortoise beetles

Tortoise beetles are a bizarre group. They look somewhat like tiny turtles with a colourful, or in some species translucent, carapace (the upper shell in turtles).

Here a pair look for each other prior to mating.


TORTOISE BEETLE AKA GREEN TORTOISE BEETLE (Chiridopsis bowringii) In Hong Kong, we have a few tortoise shell beetles. Besides the one pictured here, we also have the two-horned tortoise beetle, the six-spotted tortoise beetle and a few other less common species. They all look similar and get their common name because of the tortoise- like shell... er, OK, got that. They can withdraw their heads and feet and clamp down onto the leaf surface, using their flat-flanged rim to keep off predators, like ants. Alternatively, they are also known to drop suddenly off the leaf they are on, into the dense undergrowth, to disappear forever, thus thwarting would-be photographers. And predators, of course. Here a couple are keen to find each other to mate... where did he go?? SEE THEM The green ones (Cassida circumdata) are the most commonly seen. Look for them shining on leaves at the side of grassy paths. Favoured plants are sweet potato and morning glory.

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