Golden Tortoise Beetle - A Gold Bug in Alabama

When I was a kid, one of my favorite stories was Edgar Allan Poe's The Gold Bug. It was an exciting story about a golden colored beetle.

So imagine my surprise recently when I spied a bright, shimmering, gold beetle on a Morning Glory vine in my yard. I'm not exaggerating when I report that it appeared to be plated in pure gold.

It was the Golden Tortoise Beetle or Charidotella sexpunctata for you scientific types.

Unfortunately, after I caught it- I discovered another feature of this insect. It loses it's golden color when disturbed- it's outer shell changes from a brilliant golden sheen to a more translucent brown. In the photo above, one can see a hint of the golden color. What a shame- it really was pretty. I have since been scouring that Morning Glory vine for more of these insects- I have yet to find another one. They are a known pest of Morning Glories and can really cause serious damage to those plants.

I hereby nominate this insect for the following award: The Edgar Allan Poe Gold Bug Award.


Anonymous said...

count your blessings.
My vines are over run but I know what you mean.