Extremely rare beetle to be re-introduced at Wicken Fen more than 30 years after it disappeared

Tansy beetle (Photo: Steven Falk) Tansy beetle (Photo: Steven Falk)

Thursday, September 4, 2014
5:37 PM

An extremely rare beetle is being re-introduced to the National Trust’s Wicken Fen site, 32 years after it was last seen at the nature reserve.

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Tansy beetle (PHOTO: Richard Aspinall)Tansy beetle (PHOTO: Richard Aspinall)

Distinctive and eye-caching with a metallic appearance, the Tansy Beetle is currently in decline and under threat, now only found in the UK at a nature reserve in Yorkshire.

It mainly eats tansy, a perennial herb which has given the beetle its name, but it will also feed on water mint and gipsywort, which are both very abundant at Wicken Fen. Several hundred beetles were released on Friday in an effort to re-establish the beetle at Wicken and boost its UK population.

The venture is a joint project between The National Trust, Buglife and the Tansy Beetle Action Group (TBAG), with the support of government agency Natural England.

According to Bug Life, the 1cm-long beetle once widespread in the UK living in wetland areas, but is now only found along the banks of a 30km stretch of the River Ouse, around York.

As the beetles are dependent on tansy as their sole food source on their York site, if a clump disappears the beetles have to walk to a new clump – as they are not known to fly.

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