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Pollen beetles on Romneya coulteri

Pollen beetles on Romneya coulteri

C028/6583

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Credit

DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Pollen beetles on a flower of the tree poppy, Romneya coulteri. The picture shows hundreds of small beetles that have been attracted to the mass of anthers that make up the yellow central boss of the flower. The insects consume pollen, but their role in pollination is on balance probably beneficial."Pollen beetle" is generic term that refers to many species of small pollen-eating members of the Coleoptera family. The common swarming species found in gardens is Meligethes aeneus, also known as the rape beetle, since it lays its eggs inside the flower buds of oilseed rape (Brassica napus).The larvae develop within the buds, and for this reason are a serious crop pest. They pupate in the ground, adults emerging after the host plant has ceased to flower. It is at this time that they enter gardens. In horticulture, they can be an irritation and inconvenience, but are not harmful.

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