Donegal Wildlife Database - Insects - Coleoptera

Cassida rubiginosa - Thistle Tortoise Beetle

Cassida rubiginosa - the Thistle Tortoise Beetle - has the most interesting larvae and pupae. The larvae have twin tail-spikes and these are sometimes used to carry dead skins and droppings in a kind of parasol. Found on Creeping Thistle - Cirsium arvense.


The spikes are retained by the pupa and these are flicked forward if it is disturbed:

The adult is very well camouflaged, and can be very tricky to spot: The elytra are matt green and it often sits with the edges flush to the leaf, leaving no shadow. A stealth beetle.


The specific name rubiginosa refers to the beetle's ability to produce a red liquid from the head, leading to its other common name: Bloody-nosed Beetle.

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