|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.