When walking in a garden, you may sometime meet an exotic shiny creature called the golden ladybug. The actual name is the golden tortoise beetle. It has a similar shape to ladybirds, still.
Despite the similarity in shape and size, ladybirds and golden tortoise belong to a different family. They even have a different preference when it comes to foods and habitat.
To know more about so-called golden ladybug here is further information regarding this cute creature. Even you may notice how popular golden tortoise beetles are in the market!
As the name suggests, the beetle has a golden color, featuring black spots. However, some of them also come with variable colors, including reddish-brown. At noon, they look quite shiny and eye-catching!
In terms of size and shape, as mentioned earlier, they are similar to ladybugs. This explains why people often call them the golden ladybug. Another name is the leaf beetles or Chrysomelidae.
Golden ladybugs can grow up to 5 to 7 millimeters. Somehow, they look bigger than ladybugs or ladybirds.
So, why people call it tortoise beetles? It is based on their elytra structure, which looks unusual. These wing covers look hard and have a similar function to the tortoise’s shell.
This “elytra” become protection for both legs and head. These beetles can also tuck in their body inside it when getting cornered, especially due to the presence of predators.
Behaviors and Activities
Like other beetles, the golden ladybug would hang around leaves for snacking and eating. However, unlike ladybirds, they are often seen alone (solitaire) instead of got together with their flock.
Here is a fact. They can change color! One thing that determines this ability is the presence of liquid layers. Thus, when it is available, they can alter color beautifully.
They look the best during cool months. On the other hands, they become less lustrous during dry months. At this time, their color becomes more bronze or orange instead of shiny gold.
Also, the color may change for other reasons. These include the presence of disturbance, mating, and development. They also change color when touched by humans! This mechanism is indeed attractive.
As an alternative defense mechanism, when golden beetles are cornered or disturbed, they often play dead.
The adult golden ladybugs hibernate during winter. Later, in the spring, they start their routines like feeding, mating, and laying eggs. The best time to meet them is at the beginning of fall!
At the time, adults would look for foods (especially morning glory leaves). Soon, when the winter comes near, they may hunker down under plant debris.
They are Plant Eaters
It is common knowledge that ladybugs’ favorite food is aphid. What about the golden ladybug? Well, they are likely to eat plants foliage. Their favorites are sweet potato, morning glory, and bindweeds.
These beetles can be found easily in North America. As for habitat, they can withstand both dry and cool seasons, as well.
Let’s Learn about Their Life Cycle
It is fun to learn the golden tortoise beetle’s life cycle. First, it is the larval stage, which is considered boring as compared to adults. Usually, the larvae would eat leaves of morning glory (especially the underside).
Next, they would shed skin and carry their molts on their back. This indeed looks like a parasol! It becomes a reason why people also call them parasol beetles.
In the larvae stage, there is a special defense mechanism! They would wave their parasol when threatened or cornered. The purpose is either to distract or intimidate predators.
For the information, the larvae usually appear in summer and they feed at the time either. Next, they would pupate in the last days of summer.
They are Valuable!
The golden ladybug is considered valuable and exception due to many reasons. For example, it is because of their rapid color changeability. It is rare to see insects that have such capability, after all.
Featuring both beauty and rareness, they become a commodity in the market (either dead or alive). Thus, you can buy and sell them easily on the internet these days.
However, they aren’t always golden. It depends on their mood and season. In a peaceful environment, these insects look so beautiful, reflecting light astonishingly. On the other hand, they look gloomy.
Are They Poisonous?
In the animal world, bright colors may indicate how toxic the creature is. What about golden ladybugs? Well, even though they bite sometimes, they are not poisonous.
Moreover, they are likely to change color instead of biting when it comes to self-defense mechanism.
Among all families of beetles in the world, the golden tortoise beetle offers a distinct beauty. Their shiny color may attract everyone, including humans and other animals.
Due to their value and beauty, they are even bought and sold in the market. One thing, you must come at the right time to see their best color, which is before winter. Also, don’t disturb the golden ladybug.
Otherwise, they may change color and looks ugly.