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The Alder Leaf Beetle is a very attractive insect, about 5-6mm in length, with a prominent metallic blue-purple lustre. It is a member of the family Chrysomelidae (Leaf Beetles).
As the name suggests it can usually be found on the leaves of the different varieties of Alder, several ornamental and non-native types of which continue to be planted in this country for amenity purposes, although it is quite at home on our native species, Ainus glutinosa. Adults are fairly easy to spot against the green foliage, as are the clusters of yellow eggs which are laid on the undersides of the leaves in April and May.
A. alni was rediscovered in the United Kingdom in Manchester in 2004 after an absence of nearly fifty years. It has been suggested that A. alni was re-introduced to the U.K. on foreign specimens of tress imported from the continent. Subsequent records have shown a fairly rapid expansion of the beetle's range in all directions from the city, with specimens sighted in Stockport and macclesfield to the east and Liverpool to the west.
On the 12th May 2007 a single adult plus several egg clusters were identified on alders growing on the path adjacent to the scaffold hide on No.3 Bed. This is a welcome record for this beetle and a valuable addition to the Coleoptera records for the 'Eyes'.