This insect is causing minor damage to tomato leaves in my garden. enter image description here

Critter is mostly black with tan wing suit around the periphery. The wing suit is not between the legs which it extends as required to move. Body about 5mm diameter (it is quite round) and nearly 10mm long including the antennae. It is quite hard and resists a press with thumb pad but yields to a thumb nail. Quite easy to catch, but can move quite rapidly when disturbed and given time to extend legs. It resembles in many ways a scale insect but does not feed like a scale insect on sap, rather it munches down on the thin leaf tissues between the veins leaving fairly large round holes and leaves skeletonized. It does not appear to be in the usual published lists of tomato bugs, so maybe it normally feeds elsewhere and for this season is holidaying in my tomato patch or it is just a juvenile stage of some more familiar pest.

I'll see if I can find it munching down on anything else locally. Located in Ontario, Canada.

  • I know you tried - but frankly, the photo shows a fuzzy Rorschach test, maybe a teddy bear...? Interesting question, nevertheless.
    – Stephie
    May 29, 2020 at 20:54
  • Actually I think this is about as much information as a sharper image would give you. There is a central brown dot with four brown corner dots, the whole thing in a circle of a tan wing suit and a couple of antennae. That's it. Truth be told I now know what it is thanks to a colleague who is much familiar with a different crop. As I noted, it normally feeds on other plants. I found one of them on an avocado leaf, but that won't help you either. I'll give it 24 hours to see if a bright spark can ID it and then reveal all. May 29, 2020 at 22:01
  • Your photo just made me smile (and of course your textual description is very good, have an upvote). Knee-jerk reaction because we get too many “id this blurry what not” posts was “not again...”, but then I read the text and just had to comment. Looking forward to the answer(s),
    – Stephie
    May 29, 2020 at 22:17

1 Answer 1


The proposed answer here (via a knowledgeable and esteemed colleague who wishes to remain anonymous) is tortoise beetle. They normally feed on sweet potato family (Ipomoea) but have been seen on tomato and other crops as you can discover from a search on "tomato tortoise beetle". The general consensus is that they do not do serious damage, but they are sure making a mess of some of my tomato leaves.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.