Orange Tortoise Beetle







Aspidimorpha westwoodi

Beach tortoise beetle


They get their name from the appearance of the adult. Their wing covers are transparent and flare out around the edges looking like a tortoise or turtle shell. The head also has a helmet-like covering. This shape helps to protect the beetles from predators. They can lower their bodies flush against a surface protecting their legs, head and bodies from predators, particularly ants. Although they look like lady beetles, they are not closely related. The larvae are quite difficult to see as they camouflage themselves, matching the colour of the leaves that they are feeding on. They are oval- shaped and flat with spikey filaments sticking out around their bodies. An interesting feature is what appears to be pincers at the rear of their abdomen (called an anal fork). These actually act like forks holding the discarded skins of each moult that it goes through and also their faeces (poo). They use these skins like a club when it is threatened.

Adult size: 8mm

Out and about

Mainly seen in the warmer months when the foliage of sweet potatoes is lush. This beetle is an Australian native found in the warmer states of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Northern New South Wales.

Reproduction and Life cycle

1-2 mm long eggs are laid in clusters on the stems and underside of leaves, hatching in 5 to 10 days. The larvae go through five stages (moults). The pupae are spiny and covered in poo, taking 1 to 2 weeks for the adult to emerge.

To deter

Wasps/ Parasitic flies such as Tachinid fly/ Lady beetle larvae/ Damsel bugs/ Shield bugs /Assassin bugs

To control

I would monitor how much damage these beetles are actually doing to the plants. If they are only causing a minor amount of damage to the foliage, there should not be much damage to the sweet potato tuber. If there is a large infestation they may cause stunted growth of the sweet potatoes. - Do not plant new crops near where there has been an infestation- the vines of an infested crop should be collected after harvest and destroyed - Maintain healthy plants - Weed control- getting rid of weeds, particularly those in the Convolvulacae family - Pyrethrum spray - Chilli spray - Wood ash and lime spray - Neem spray

Plants to repel

Plants to attract


Wasps/ Parasitic flies such as Tachinid fly/ Lady beetle larvae/ Damsel bugs/ Shield bugs /Assassin bugs
Why they are a Pest
They are a leaf eating beetle. A particular pest of sweet potatoes (Convolvulaceae family), kangkong and plants related to morning glory. The adults make holes in the leaves, similar to the flea beetle. The larvae eat the surface of the leaf when small and in later stages eat through the leaf.