Meet the Clavate tortoise beetle

Clavate tortoise beetle on a chewed potato leaf. Note that teddybear shape on its back.

Noticing some pellet holes in my potato leaves, I wondered if we’d been hit by flea beetles. Then I saw what looked like a small fleck of bird droppings on the leaf. When flicked, it moved.

That’s when I first met what has turned out to be the Clavate tortoise beetle (Plagiometriona clavata – and other names), which feeds on the leaves of the nightshade family, including tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. It seems to be a relatively uncommon, common pest. Most links I’ve found simply suggest hand picking and squashing, which is what I’ve done.

If you notice leaf damage on plants in this family, take a look for this fella or his odd-looking nymph. You might meet something new, too.


  1. Isn't he (or she) something? More a curiosity than a serious pest, I think. My potato experiment seems to have produced leaves to spare — and, I hope, actual spuds beneath them — so perhaps there's plenty to share, too. To be determined.

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