Friday, December 23, 2011

The Beetles...

Every once in a while something unexpected turns up and makes my day.
Such was the case today when I discovered a small beetle that even though I have been photographing beetles since around 2008 I have never seen before.

Here's the information:

Scientific name: Cassida nobilis
              Order: Coleoptera
             Family: Chrysomelidae

Cassida nobilis is around 5mm long, it's body is broad, somewhat flattened and oval. It hides both it's head and legs, sitting close to the plant surface and the large, flat neck shield and elytra make the beetle difficult to detect when at rest.

Cassida nobilis (Gold-striped Tortoise Beetle)
I've been unable to establish exactly how many species of Tortoise Beetle are present in the U.K. but I'm sure it's at least six-possibly seven and could be more.

I have found a couple of others and look how different C.nobilis looks to C.viridis...

Cassida viridis (The Green Tortoise Beetle)
And then C.rubiginosa that appears similar to viridis at first glance...

Cassida rubiginosa (The Thistle Tortoise Beetle)
C.nobilis is listed as widespread but very local in England and seems to be more common at the coast.

The beetle is listed as a Notable B. species, meaning that it is a nationally scarce insect.


I was really pleased to find this one. Not only because it's another to add to my list of finds but more importantly, it means we have some scarce beetles living right on our doorstep.

I think it's a stunning little creature and probably the most impressive of the tortoise beetles that I've found to date; even though it's the smallest with the others being between 7-10mm.

Although this beetle also has the name of gold-striped tortoise beetle, in actual fact the stripes on this example appeared to me to be more mint-green, moving towards yellow in different lighting conditions. But then, I suppose 'gold' has oft been used with a little bit of artistic licence to represent yellow.

I would have loved the opportunity to take some natural light shots of this one but a dull and overcast late December day, with rain threatening isn't really conducive to macro photography; however, I did take just one, not fantastic because of the problems that I've referred to but here it is anyway...

Natural light shot of C. nobilis
All of these photographs were taken using a Canon 100mm macro lens with a Raynox M-250 attached.

Tortoise Beetle larvae in general are strange creatures that carry the excrement they produce on their backs.....

A tortoise beetle larva
That is Cassida nobilis-The Gold-striped Tortoise Beetle then. A fabulous find that I wanted to share.

Until the next time then...


  1. wonderful find! i have only ever seen 2 species, i managed to shoot " Cassida vittata - The Borded Tortoise Beetle" this year.


  2. Thanks Neil.

    Yes Phil, I do remember you shooting that one. Very similar to this but with broader stripes I seem to recall.


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