Thursday, 10 July 2014

Minty

Walking through Pewit Carr yesterday, we came across the usual patch of Water Mint, growing in a particularly smelly and boggy area which we often describe a the 'primaeval swamp'.  Our notice was caught by several small beetles among the mint and surrounding plants and closer inspection revealed them to be Mint Leaf Beetles (Chrysolina menthastri).
So shiny, they look like they have been buffed up to a high gloss and if you look closely, my own image is visible on their elytra - or wing cases - as I took their picture.  As the name suggests, these handsome little beetles feed mainly on mint leaves and can be found commonly, during the summer months, across the southern half of Great Britain wherever there are areas of boggy land, ditches, etc. and a good supply of mint of course.  Eating all that mint, it must have the freshest breath of any beetle species!
Another common sight in boggy ground is the Toad Rush (Juncus bufonius).
This too was growing in the meadows of Pewit Carr, but its diminutive stature makes it easy to overlook as you tramp through the taller grasses which surround it.  Nevertheless, it rewards closer inspection as it is an attractive, robust and tough little plant.
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