Tansy beetles (Chrysolina graminis) on tansy
Although once widespread in the UK living in wetland areas, they are now found along the banks of a 30km stretch of the River Ouse around York, with a much smaller population recently discovered in Cambridgeshire.
The decline in Tansy beetle populations has led to its designation as a conservation priority species in England (section 41 species), which means that public bodies have a duty to protect it, together with its habitat.
Although the Tansy plant is widespread along the River Ouse, land-use changes and the increase of invasive species such as Himalayan balsam have resulted in a decline in plants over the past few decades.
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 don’t seem to fly.
This has had an adverse affect on Tansy beetle numbers as their populations have become increasingly isolated.
Buglife worked on the Tansy Beetle Champions Project to get local people involved in the conservation of this iconic beetle. By engaging the local community, we were able to raise awareness of the Tansy beetle and improve our understanding of the beetle's habitat and range.