Photo: Arne Ader
Dead nettle leaf beetle
Looduskalender was told about the mass occurrence of the beetles by pre-school nature lovers Hanna and Eliise, who spend the summer in south-east Estonia and identified the species on their own from a photo in the book „Eesti elusloodus“ – “Estonian living nature”.
Among the leaf beetles (Chrysomelidae) the dead-nettle leaf beetle belongs to the medium-sized ones but in colourfulness they are incomparable. They are busy from early spring until autumn, only at times the beetles are simply more visible. They prefer dead-nettles (Lamium); it is convenient to watch them there, and they are no pests. Other members of the genus, for instance the tiny flea beetles, make trouble in gardeners’ garden beds.
The vivid colours are a message to birds: we taste horribly bad or are even poisonous – better not touch. It works.