Chasing Rainbows – Searching for the Rainbow Leaf Beetle on top of Snowdon

18 August 2015 by Paula

The Rainbow Leaf Beetle Chrysolina cerealis is one of Britain’s rarest insects

The Rainbow Leaf Beetle Chrysolina cerealis is one of Britain’s rarest insects. © Christoph Benisch –

Tony Hunter, assistant Curator of Entomology tells us about a survey being carried out in conjunction with Natural Resources Wales:

“The Rainbow Leaf Beetle Chrysolina cerealis is one of our rarest insects and is protected in Britain by the Wildlife and Countryside Act. It is against the law to collect, disturb or even photograph it.

This beautifully coloured beetle, which is the size of a large ladybird, is only recorded in Britain from high up on two peaks in Snowdonia, where it feeds on the flowers and leaves of Thyme.

It is over 20 years since this very special insect was last seen on Snowdon and conservationists are worried that we might have seen the ‘end of the rainbow’.

Between 19 – 21 August, scientists from National Museums Liverpool, working under special license from National Resources Wales, will be conducting extensive surveys to re-discover this astonishing insect. We hope this will be the first step towards a conservation plan to help protect the Rainbow Leaf Beetle in Britain.

Watch out for further news and pictures as the survey progresses.”

Find out more about our Zoology research projects here.

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