Can you keep a secret? I’ve succumbed a new camera! 😱  More on that another time, but of course the first thing anyone wants to do when they get anything new, is to test it out, and I’m no different!

Thinking a walk to and around our local Sun Lane Nature Reserve might provide some adequate subject matter to test this latest “investment”, I set out at an enthusiastic pace. However, all I managed to find was a group of rather sleepy beetles stumbling around on a wooden fence.

Although there was more to these shiny walking ballbearings than first meets the eye…

Agelastica aln, Back from the Dead

It turns out these Alder Leaf Beetles (Agelastica aln) were thought extinct in the UK from 1946 until 2003. They were subsequently rediscovered in Manchester, 2004 and have been found in areas of the North West, South East of England and parts of Wales since.

The reasons behind this apparent resurrection remain uncertain but they’re thought to have been imported on a plant from Europe.

No prizes for guessing what this beetle’s favourite food is! But they can and will eat the leaves from other deciduous trees too. While they can render the leaves looking rather unsightly (depending on your point of view), they offer no threat to the tree itself.

The other notable fact about the Alder Leaf Beetle is they can enter a state of diapause in the Summer months, a kind of Summer siesta before hibernating again in the Winter and emerging in Spring to mate and produce the next generation of Agelastica aln.

While I can’t say for sure, what I think (or guess) my new camera and I witnessed was an emergence from diapause…

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