Local insects and animals- Eucalyptus tortoise beetle

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This little beetle rode into the house on my tracksuit pants leg. I saw a shape clinging to the fabric and, when I put my glasses on, it was revealed as a tiny beetle. She looked a bit disgruntled to find herself in a humpy and not on a tree, so I snapped a few photos and let her go outside. Then I set off to find out what kind of beetle she is. At first I thought she was a kind of Lady beetle (I was thinking shape and size here), so I googled Lady beetles in Australia.

None of the pictures matched my little visitor, so I went to the an online insect identification key, which eventually…after many entertaining side visits, led me to the right family of beetle. She is a Leaf beetle.

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The closest match I could find was the Tortoise Leaf beetle; a kind of beetle that eats eucalyptus leaves and is fairly common in this region. I have not noticed these beetles before, maybe because the Bell Miners (Australian Bell Bird) have moved further away from the humpy in the last year or so. Bell Miners eat all sorts of insects that inhabit the bush.

No matter how she came to be clinging to my pants leg, I was glad she came and introduced herself. Yet another member of the huge community that shares our niche.

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