Yorkshire Museum

Tansy Beetles

This “Star Object” may not be officially an object, but it is certainly a star of York Museum Gardens! Tansy Beetles are an endangered species which live only in a 30km stretch of the banks of the River Ouse around York.

They are beautiful to look at, with a bright, green, jewel-like appearance and are named after the Tansy plant, which they feed on.

In 2012, 30 beetles were introduced to specially planted beds, close to the Hospitium, to increase the range of the beetle but also so visitors to the gardens could take a closer look and learn about the protected species.

The beetles are about 10mm in size and are most active on clumps of Tansy between April and May, and between August and September. During the winter they hibernate.

They have declined in number because Tansy plants are only found in isolated clumps which means the beetles, which are not known to fly, find it difficult to reach each other to breed.

Stuart Ogilvy, assistant curator for natural sciences, worked with the Tansy Beetle Action Group to introduce the beetles. Alison Pringle, gardens manager, and her team, prepared and planted the Tansy beds.

For updates about the Tansy beetles’ progress, follow Stuart on Twitter @ymtgardenwatch.

With thanks to Lily Hartley for the images on this page.