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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

25 September, 2015

Dead-nettle Leaf Beetle: a shining example

It always seems to me that creatures that are dependent on a particular plant for their survival are taking something of a risk; if anything happens to their host species then they are doomed! I suppose the dead-nettle leaf beetle (Chrysolina fastuosa) does not have to worry too much as its preferred vegetables are dead-nettles and hemp-nettles which are both widespread and very hardy.
Chrysolina fastuosa is relatively small (between 5mm to 7mm) but stands out in a crowd due to its brilliant metallic green sheen which can also feature blue, red and gold depending on the light and the age of the specimen. Preferring waterside locations they are clearly visible on suitable vegetation where they feed on the leaves. May be this is where they derive their colouration from?
They can be seen from as early as March 

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