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This is one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. These are the larvae of the Thistle tortoise beetle (Cassida rubiginosa) but, at a quick glance, they look just like little lumps of poo on the leaves of Creeping thistle. And that’s exactly what you can see because these amazing creatures employ a faecal shield as a protective device, carrying their own excretions above their back as a disguise. There are very few local records for this beetle but, as has happened to me before, once I found one – and so knew what to look out for, I then found more in other locations (including a couple of larvae without their shield), so this is another case of something being rarely recorded rather than actually rare.

220707 thistle tortoise beetle larvae