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409 Views 2 Replies Last post: Sep 1, 2013 8:04 PM by Homer RSS
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Aug 31, 2013 5:59 AM

Strange bug found on holiday

While on holiday in the Algarve, Portugal, my son found this strange bug.

 

Some kind of insect with a large flat plate on it's back.  It had great difficulty walking on the plastic table top where I photographed it.

 

Hope someone can help with identification.

 

Thanks for looking.

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    Aug 31, 2013 7:59 AM (in response to Homer)
    Re: Strange bug found on holiday

    Well, it is a beetle, but which one...

     

    Here are my inconclusive thoughts...

     

    I think it may be in the Cassidinae subfamily

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassidinae

    One of this subfamily's characters is the continuous outline of the pronotum and elytra, which together

    extend to cover the legs and head - forming a sort of shield. They are called tortoise beetles or shield beetles (not to be confused with shield bugs).

    Most beetles have hard opaque exteriors and fixed colouration. In the Cassidinae, however, at least some of the 'shield' is translucent, enabling the colour of the underlying tissue to be seen. Some species are able to change the colour of that tissue, thereby changing their overall colour. That enables them to camouflage themselves (like a chamaeleon or cuttlefish) or give warnings or make communicating signs (like fireflies and glow-worms).

     

    But there are a lot of species in the Cassidina ...

    And there's a problem with that subfamily - they are mostly/all (I think) somewhat rounded in outline.

    Your (elongate) specimen is more like Delocrania in shape (from central America) and Ellychnia (occurs in Europe).

     

    Anybody else got an idea?...

     

    Mike

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