Photo ©2019 B. Schoenmakers
Blue Mint beetle - Chrysolina coerulans
Family - Chrysomelidae
Also known as - Blue Mint Leaf Beetle
A small, vibrant metallic blue leaf beetle, as the name might suggest they frequent plants in the Mentha genus becoming a pest, but have also been recorded on other herbaceous plants. Larvae and adult beetles eat the host plant leaves leaving small holes. Native to middle and eastern Europe, through to western China and northern India they have gradually spread eastwards becoming a new species to the UK having first been recorded in 2011 apparently in Kent. In the last few years they have become established in the south east of the country spreading west and north. They were found in Brickfields Park in 2021 in small numbers, with local residents also confirming sightings in the local area.
Seen during April to September they favour mint and Tanacetum (Tansies) species in damp habitats, woodland edges, river banks and margins. Similar in size to a ladybird beetle they are 6–10mm (0.24–0.39in) long and a bright iridescent blue, the elytra is finely indented, larvae are round, soft-bodied and black in colour. There is another beetle that feeds in mint, (a bit obvious !) the Mint Leaf Beetle - Chrysolina herbacea, however this beetle is a bright emerald metallic green.
Another similar beetle is the Alder leaf beetle (Agelastica alni), but as the name suggests it feeds on various Alder species.
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