Golden Tortoise Beetle
COMMON NAMES: Gold Bug, Golden Tortoise Beetle, Sweet Potato Beetle, Tortoise Beetle
SIZE: Adult—1/4", larva—3/8"
IDENTIFICATION: Oval, flattened, squared at the shoulders, golden. Larvae are flat with a forked posterior appendage that curves forward over the body. Larvae have conspicuous thorny spines around the outside edge.
BIOLOGY AND LIFECYCLE: Females lay eggs on foliage, and the spring larvae hang around on the underside of leaves in June and July.
HABITAT: Foliage of sweet potato, eggplant, and other morning glory and nightshade plants.
FEEDING HABITS: Adults and larvae eat the foliage of eggplant, morning glory, sweet potato, and other nightshade plants. They eat holes and sometimes entire leaves.
ECONOMIC IMPORTANCE: Destruction of food crops.
NATURAL CONTROL: Insectivorous animals.
ORGANIC CONTROL: Beneficial fungi or plant oil products.
INSIGHT: Larvae look like moving bits of dirt. The spiny waste and dry skin covered larvae are found on the underside of leaves.