Thursday, March 10, 2011

The First Record of the Red Lily Beetle in the Republic of Ireland?

Red Lili Beetle, Liloceris lilii
During a recent gardening spurt in Cork City, I discovered a red beetle, slowly making its way across the disturbed soil. Thinking it was a nice example of a Cardinal Beetle, I took a few photos and set the little chap on his way. However, later on when I viewed the photos in more detail, I realised it was not the a Cardinal Beetle at all: the elytra were too round and shiny. It turned out that I had happened upon a Red Lily Beetle (Liloceris lilii). This was not surprising at first as the bed in which I found the beetle had some of its favourite food of lilies growing in it.
And yet it was surprising in another way because (as far as I can make out) there has been no recorded sighting of L. lilii in the Republic of Ireland. Anderson (1) states that the first recorded sighting of L. lilii on the island of Ireland was in a garden in Belfast in 2002. Furthermore, he states on the website (2) that no recorded sightings of L. lilii in the Republic exist, however it is more than likely to be present.
L. lilii is distributed throughout Europe where it feeds on lilies and fritillaries, often doing considerable damage, especially in Britain and Holland (3). Overwintering adults emerge from overwintering to feed on emergent lilies. Eggs are layed on the underside of leaves in April, with larvae pupating to emerge in early summer when they too feed on lilies.

  1. Anderson and Bell 2002, Coleopterist 11 p. 90
  3. Kenis et al. 2003 1st International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods 1pp. 416-419

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