Sunday, August 19, 2012

Golden Tortoise Beetle

The photo in the previous post is apparently one of a Golden Tortoise Beetle.
The website of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Department of Entymology and Nematology says this about the little shiny critter:

"...Insects commonly known as "goldbugs" sometimes attract the attention of gardeners when they feed on plants in the family Convolvulaceae. Although these insects are occasionally abundant enough to cause serious levels of defoliation, they are mostly a curiosity..."
and:
"...The golden tortoise beetle is distributed widely in eastern North America, west to about Iowa and Texas. It is one of three species of tortoise beetle found in Florida.."
and:
"...The golden tortoise beetle is associated with sweet potato and related species such as morning glory, Ipomoea spp.; and bindweed, Convolvulus spp. Only plants in the family Convolvulaceae are hosts..."

However, interestingly enough, the photo was taken near Lake Victoria in Uganda, Africa!

Coincidentally, I just heard a fragment of a talk on the radio about the introduction of American orange sweet potatoes into African foods as a way to increase the Vitamin A in the diet there.  I wonder if they hitched a ride?