British beetles, Cassida rubiginosa, Creeping thistle, faecal shield, insects on Creeping thistle, Larva carrying poo on back, Thistle tortoise beetle, Thistle tortoise beetle larva, weird beetle larva
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.