The Tansy Beetle ranks as an extremely rare species of leaf beetle whose numbers continue to diminish at an alarming rate. Recovery efforts are now underway, consisting of regular surveys of their population and attempted control of invasive species.
Their common name derives from their dietary preference, since this insect feeds primarily on the Tansy plant, and very little else. Because of this, they remain especially vulnerable to numerous ecological factors which include climate change and habitat loss.
Increased predation by introduced species also plays an important part in their decline.
Tansy Beetle Physical Characteristics
Though the Tansy Beetle stays rather diminutive, they nonetheless appear quite beautiful. This interesting species exhibits a moderate degree of sexual dimorphism. The female only attains an average length of 0.3 in (7.6 mm), while the male reaches a length slightly less than the female.
They primarily appear a bright green in color, with patterns of red, yellow, and orange showing as well. The exoskeleton also displays a bright metallic sheen, further enhancing their distinctiveness.
Its wings grow quite small and underdeveloped, and as a result, the Tansy Beetle moves by crawling instead of flying.
Tansy Beetle Habitat and Ecology
Surprisingly enough, the Tansy Beetle actually resides across a wide swathe of Europe. Since the middle of the 20th century, however, their numbers have declined rapidly. Consequently, they are now only living in widely scattered small concentrations.
They generally spend their entire lives either on or around an isolated clump of Tansy which serves as both food and shelter. These particular plants are typically present in either wetland or beside riverbanks.
Usually, adults feed, mate, and lay their eggs entirely on the tops of plants, and then the larvae consume the leaves.