Friday 17 May
Reed beetle (Donacia aquatica)
Reed beetle fact file
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Reed beetle description
This is a spectacularly coloured beetle, having a metallic blue sheen over its whole body, and rainbow-like stripes down each wing case. The beetle has long legs and antennae.
- Body length: 6 mm
Reed beetle biology
The beetle, as its name suggests, is aquatic, with adults appearing in May and June. The larvae feed in air-filled galls on the submerged parts of plants, which grow along the edges of lakes.Top
Reed beetle range
The beetle is found all over Europe, and was once widespread but local in the UK. Today, however, it is only found in Sussex, Cumbria and the Scottish Highlands. There is also a recent record from Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland of a beetle collected in 1992.Top
Reed beetle habitat
This species is found on vegetation, preferably sedges, found at the margins of open water such as lakes and fens.Top
Reed beetle status
Classified as Rare in the UK.Top
Reed beetle threats
The obvious threats to this species are the loss of its wet habitat and disturbance of the marginal vegetation. However, some of its water bodies may have disappeared in the past and the enrichment of lakes by agricultural run-off is also a contributory factor.Top
Reed beetle conservation
Donacia aquatica is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP), and included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. In at least three of the sites where it occurs, this beetle's habitat is safeguarded, as two are nature reserves and the Northern Irish site is an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
It may prove possible to re-introduce the beetle to sites in its former range if this proves practical. More information about the species' ecology and true status is also required. English Nature is supporting a PhD studentship under Dr Allan Stewart at Sussex University, which is due to complete in 2004.Top
Find out more
The UK BAP Species Action Plan is available at:
Information supplied by English Nature.
- Pair of sensory structures on the head of invertebrates.
- 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.
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