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Meet the golden tortoise beetle.

Golden tortoise beetles are jewel-like insects that live mostly in the eastern half of North America. Nicknamed "goldbugs," these tiny beetles only grow to about 1/4 inch long. You can often find them in gardens chomping on their favorite foods: morning glories and sweet potatoes.

The goldbug larvae, which hatch in late May, look like grubs covered with branching spines. As they grow, the larvae collect their own dead skin and waste in their spines to use as "fecal shields" against predators. After all, who'd want to eat a critter covered in a crusty layer of dried poop?

Goldbugs are not always gold; in fact, they can change color at will by adjusting the moisture between the layers of their wings! Based on the amount of liquid, goldbugs can appear red, orange, or brown/some. times with spots, sometimes without.

Although goldbugs appear to be metallic, they don't actually contain gold--so don't think you'll get rich collecting them! If you do collect some, they will soon turn themselves dark brown. It's best to just leave them where you find them and appreciate their beauty from afar.

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Publication:Jack & Jill
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2013
Previous Article:Giggles & snickers.

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