Bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle (Psylliodes luridipennis)

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Bronze lundy cabbage flea beetle
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Bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle fact file

Bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderColeoptera
FamilyChrysomelidae
GenusPsylliodes (1)

The bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle is a dark bronze in colour, and often has yellow translucent wing cases (elytra) (4).

Size
Length: 2.8 - 3.6 mm (2)
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Bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle biology

Eggs are laid into the leaf stalks of Lundy cabbage. The white larvae mine the leaf-stalks and eventually enter the plant stems (4). They emerge in late summer and then pupate in the soil. Adults feed on the leaves of the Lundy cabbage (4).

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Bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle range

A British endemic (occurs no-where else), this beetle is known only from the island of Lundy in the Bristol Channel, where its range reflects the distribution of its sole host plant, Lundy cabbage (Coincya wrightii). This plant is also endemic to Lundy, and is restricted to the south-east of the island, where conditions are more sheltered (4).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle habitat

Lundy cabbage grows in a range of habitats, encompassing the foot of cliffs, sheer cliff faces and sloping cliff top grassland ('side-lands'), extending inland for about 500m (4).

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Bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle status

Classified as Vulnerable in Great Britain (3).

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Bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle threats

Lundy cabbage (and therefore the beetles that depend on it) is threatened by the introduced weed plant Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum), which supplants the Lundy Cabbage by out-competing it (4). Introduced mammals also pose a threat; domestic sheep, goats and rabbits eat the cabbage, and have restricted it to steep cliffs and other inaccessible areas (4).

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Bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle conservation

Both Lundy cabbage and the bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle are listed as priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) (3). They are also included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme; the National Trust (leading the action plan) is co-ordinating conservation action with English Nature, The University of Leeds and the Landmark Trust (4). Research into the distribution and life-history of the bronze Lundy cabbage flea beetle has been undertaken, monitoring is carried out annually, and rhododendron is being cleared regularly, even from dangerous steep cliff faces (4).

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Find out more

For more on English Nature's Species Recovery Programme see:
http://www.english-nature.org.uk/science/srp/default.asp

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Authentication

Information authenticated by Dr Roger Key of English Nature.
www.english-nature.gov.uk

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Glossary

Elytra
In beetles and earwigs, the hard fore wings. They are held aloft when the insect flies, and are often coloured or patterned.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Larvae
Stage in an animal's lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
Pupate
The process of forming a pupa, the stage in an insect's development, when huge changes occur that reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
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References

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2002) http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
  2. Key, R. (2002) Pers. Comm.
  3. UK BAP (September 2002) http://www.ukbap.org.uk
  4. Compton, S. G., Key, R. and Key, R.J.D (2002). Conserving our little Galapagos- Lundy, Lundy cabbage and its beetles. British Wildlife13 (3): 184-190.
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Image credit

Bronze lundy cabbage flea beetle  
Bronze lundy cabbage flea beetle

© Roger Key

Dr Roger Key
Tel: +44 (0) 1845 567 292
key_r_s@yahoo.co.uk

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