Thursday, May 31, 2007

St Johnswort leaf beetle (Chrysolina hyperici)

Recently I found a shining metallic beetle about the size and shape of a ladybird happily chewing its way through the leaves of one of the square-stalked St Johnsworts (Hypericum tetrapterum) in The Waste. These have not been growing so well this year and maybe the beetle is the cause.

Elsewhere I have seen them in considerable numbers and in some countries where St Johnsworts have become troublesome introduced weed species the beetles have been used as a control agent.
It will be interesting to see if our St Johnsworts and their beetles can live together in the longer term.

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