25 August 2015 by Paula
Tony Hunter, assistant Curator of Entomology updates us on the search for the Rainbow Leaf Beetle on Snowdon:
“We left Liverpool on a lovely sunny morning and despite the weather forecast we were hopeful of a fine day, but as we approached Snowdon along the A5 dark clouds loomed and it started to rain.
The beetle is thought to be most active at dusk and dawn and to investigate this we planned to stay on the mountain for at least one night. So despite the worsening conditions we lugged all our survey equipment and overnight gear up to the main monitoring site, a few hundred metres below the summit.
In driving wind and torrential rain we searched the food plant, but with no luck after five hours we decided to distract ourselves by going up near the summit to check some of the other areas where previous records had been made.
Again we found no signs of the beetle and the wind was threatening to blow us off the mountain so we dropped back down to our ‘accommodation’ – a disused sheepfold, and tried to cheer ourselves up with some hot food. Having eaten and warmed ourselves up, we bedded down for the night and tried to get some well earned rest.
After a cold, wet, windy and uncomfortable night we were up before dawn to search the main site again.
A pupal case found in a crevice under a stone raised our spirits, could this be the elusive Rainbow Leaf Beetle?
The case was collected for careful examination at the museum and will be returned to Snowdon once a definitive identification has been made. The survey will continue in early September when we are hoping for more favourable weather conditions!”
We can’t wait to find out if the pupal case is in fact the Rainbow Leaf Beetle, look out for updates as we know more.
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