Saturday, 9 August 2014

Rare beetle found in East Anglia

The critically endangered tansy beetle has been re-discovered at Woodwalton Fen NNR in East Anglia after a 40 year absence.

Prior to this discovery there was just one known tansy beetle stronghold in the UK, a 30km stretch of the banks of the river Ouse in York.

The beetle is a green leaf beetle with a metallic sheen that is about the size of a small finger nail and with a metallic sheen. Its name derives from the tansy plant on which they often feed as both larvae and adults.

Entomologist, Dr. Peter Kirby, who discovered a small population when carrying out ditch surveys for Natural England, said: “It is not uncommon for invertebrate populations to survive at extremely low levels for many years until conditions become suitable for an expansion and that appears to be what has happened here.”

Natural England has been working closely with the Tansy Beetle Action Group (TBAG) to study how best to improve conditions for the beetle. 

Vicky Kindemba from Buglife and co-chair of TBAG said: “This is fantastic news for our amazing tansy beetle. This rare beetle now has a real chance at survival by expanding into the Fens. However, we still need to work hard to help it, and we would like everyone to get involved by ‘Adopting a Tansy Beetle’ at www.buglife.org.uk/adopt-tansy-beetle.”

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