I found this bug in southern Florida in February. It was approximately 1cm long or less, fully extended. What type of bug is this? enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Please edit your post to include an approximate size of the specimen. Also, if you have additional information about where you found it or clearer photos, you should update to include that info as well. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 15, 2020 at 20:47

1 Answer 1


It's probably the larval state of a tortoise beetle, or a closely related beetle. They are known to build a "faecal shield" at the end of their tail, sometimes including shed exoskeleton and any debris that sticks to it. They hold this shield over their bodies for defensive purposes that aren't fully understood.
Lacewing larva look somewhat similar and also cover themselves with debris, but their legs are longer and their head and mandibles look quite different.
Here's an image of a thistle tortoise beetle larva: thistle tortoise beetle with faecal shield

  • $\begingroup$ Amazing detective work, looks just like it! Thanks so much! $\endgroup$
    – NULL
    Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 16:04

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