In another addition to the ever-expanding list of “awwww little cutie” creatures, we have the Golden Target Tortoise Beetle. The beetle not only inspires a case of “cute aggression,” but also has some artful armor. The little, plucky creature is teeny tiny, however, which is why it’s important to observe it up close.
In the video above, which comes via Boing Boing, the late independent scientist, Andreas Kay, shows off the unique bug. And just about everything the Golden Target does is adorable. The beetle’s especially squeezable when it rubs its legs, or uses its antennae to check if the coast is clear. But it’s that carapace that really stands out.
“Tortoise beetles [owe] their name to the carapace under which they can find shelter like a tortoise,” Kay says in the video’s description. He adds the difference between the two is that a tortoise’s shell can’t, y’know, open for flight.
Kay says this particular target-resembling species is native to the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. But other members of the genus, like Charidotella sexpunctata, can be found all over the Americas. And it’s worth looking for them too, as they occasionally appear to made of plated gold.
Just before Kay passed away, he was also able to capture a video of the Golden Targets mating. That video, below, is perhaps less cute, although still quite fascinating. The clip also provides a higher-resolution look at the Golden Targets’ carapaces; if you look closely, you can see black spots flecked across the mirror-like colorations.
What do you think about the Golden Target Tortoise Beetle? Is this the cutest little bug you’ve ever seen, or are there even cuddlier ones out there? Let’s chat about these beetles and other artful insects in the comments, people!
Feature image: Andreas Kay