Phase one of the Snowdon Leaf Beetle survey is now complete and, after many hours searching, the team were finally rewarded with an adult Snowdon Leaf Beetle – confirming it is still alive and breeding in the UK!
The Snowdon Leaf Beetle Chrysolina cerealis is probably the rarest of the 291 British species in this group of beetles, which feed on the leaves and seeds of plants. It is also one of only two beetles protected by law in the UK and a permit is needed to even search for it. It is described as a glacial relic and is thought to have been forced to gradually adapt to cold weather during the last ice age. As the climate warmed up quickly it was driven upwards where temperatures are lower.
Assistant Curator of Entomology Tony Hunter said: “This survey was particularly challenging at times, due to bad weather and difficult terrain, and this made eventually finding the beetle even more special.
The adult is an amazing looking insect with green and purple stripes and an iridescent shine and I feel extremely lucky to have seen one.
Hopefully we will be able to return next year and continue monitoring this beautiful and enigmatic insect.”
A report will be submitted to Natural Resources Wales later in the year to help inform their management strategy. Find out how the journey started.
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