Tag Archives: sunflower tortoise beetle

Sunflower tortoise beetle (Physonota helianthi)

sunflower tortoise beetle
Intermediate Adult

Sunflower tortoise beetle (Physonota helianthi) is a small leaf beetle. It occurs in the United States east of the Great Plains and in adjacent Canadian provinces. It is uncommon throughout its range.

There are three color phases that each adult undergoes. The teneral adult, freshly emerged from the pupal stage, is soft bodied and dingy white or ivory. The intermediate adult is black and white with numerous spots. This phase lasts about three weeks. The mature adult is entirely iridescent green. The upper thoracic plate and the two hardened wing covers each have a semi-transparent covering over the entire surface.

sunflower tortoise beetle
Mature Adult

Both larvae and adults feed on the underside of leaves. They occasionally defoliate the plant and can be a major pest. Larvae carry dried fecal matter over their body, presumably as a form of camouflage. The fecal matter is attached to a forked appendage on the last abdominal segment, and is held suspended over the body.

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