Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The beetle, as its name suggests, is aquatic, with adults appearing in May and June. The larvae feed in air-filled galls on the submerged parts of plants, which grow along the edges of lakes.
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Description

This is a spectacularly coloured beetle, having a metallic blue sheen over its whole body, and rainbow-like stripes down each wing case. The beetle has long legs and antennae.
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Distribution

Range

The beetle is found all over Europe, and was once widespread but local in the UK. Today, however, it is only found in Sussex, Cumbria and the Scottish Highlands. There is also a recent record from Upper Lough Erne in Northern Ireland of a beetle collected in 1992.
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Ecology

Habitat

This species is found on vegetation, preferably sedges, found at the margins of open water such as lakes and fens.
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Associations

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Donacia aquatica grazes on windowed leaf (upper surface) of Glyceria fluitans
Remarks: season: 5-7(-10)

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Donacia aquatica grazes on windowed leaf (upper surface) of Glyceria maxima
Remarks: season: 5-7(-10)

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Donacia aquatica grazes on windowed leaf (upper surface) of Carex acutiformis
Remarks: season: 5-7(-10)

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Donacia aquatica grazes on windowed leaf (upper surface) of Carex acuta
Remarks: season: 5-7(-10)

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Donacia aquatica feeds on root of Sparganium erectum

Foodplant / open feeder
adult of Donacia aquatica grazes on windowed leaf (upper surface) of Ranunculus lingua
Remarks: season: 5-7(-10)

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Donacia aquatica feeds on root of Schoenoplectus lacustris

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Donacia aquatica feeds on root of Typha latifolia

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Donacia aquatica

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

Classified as Rare in the UK.
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Threats

The obvious threats to this species are the loss of its wet habitat and disturbance of the marginal vegetation. However, some of its water bodies may have disappeared in the past and the enrichment of lakes by agricultural run-off is also a contributory factor.
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Management

Conservation

Donacia aquatica is listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP), and included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme. In at least three of the sites where it occurs, this beetle's habitat is safeguarded, as two are nature reserves and the Northern Irish site is an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI). It may prove possible to re-introduce the beetle to sites in its former range if this proves practical. More information about the species' ecology and true status is also required. English Nature is supporting a PhD studentship under Dr Allan Stewart at Sussex University, which is due to complete in 2004.
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