The Tansy Beetle

The Tansy Beetle

The Tansy Beetle is an attractive bright green leaf beetle, with a coppery sheen. The wing cases were so admired by Victorians that they were used as sequins. It received its name because its favoured habitat is the tansy fern which grows on riverbanks.

The insects lay their eggs on the leaves of the tansy plant and the adult beetles, which hibernate underground during the winter, are thought to live for about a year. The months between June and August are the time of year when the beetles are most commonly seen. They burrow underground at the base of the tansy plants to hibernate from September or October until March or April, when the adults breed and lay their eggs.

It was once quite widespread throughout Britain, but there has been a sharp decline in population. Now the banks of the river Ouse around York and Selby are the only place in the UK where the endangered Tansy Beetle is found. We are very lucky to have it in Fulford on our very own Village Green.

We are keen to protect it and the tansy plants on which it lives so please ensure that you do not do any damage to the tansy fern when you are on the Green. But do look for it because it is very beautiful and well worth seeing.

Tansy beetle

Chrysolina graminis

Gemma

The jewel of York

T’was Jorvik and the chrysomelids

Did shine and shimmer by the Ouse

All visity were the school kids

And the pleasure crafts did cruise

‘Watch out for Chrysolina graminis

The elytra pitted, iridescent green

The pronotum smooth, and, oh what bliss

The body’s coppery sheen.’

She took her digicam in hand

Long time the sequined gem she sought

So rested she at Fulford Ings

And stood awhile in thought

And as in huffish thought she stood

The tansy beetles, of great fame

Came squiffling through the tangled weeds

And nibbled as they came

One, two! Three, four! And more and more

She shot the creatures, snicker snap

With her pix she got her kicks

Then went home for a nap

And hast thou seen the Tansy beetle?

Go walk on the ings, and if beetles be ahoy

Oh tansy day! Coleopteral hurray!

Thou shalt chortle in thy joy

T’was Jorvik and the chrysomelids

Did shine and shimmer by the Ouse

All visity were the school kids

And the pleasure crafts did cruise.

The Tansy Beetle by Anneliese Emmans