Bloaters 2

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Although the alder leaf beetle (see last post) can swell to rather substantial proportions in an effort to produce lots of young it has quite a lot of work to do to contend with the dock leaf beetle (Gastrophysa viridula). Gravid females of this species are seriously swollen with eggs, but this doesn’t seem to deter ardent males from clambering aboard and attempting to mate (see below). This little, metallic beetle is very interesting for a number of reasons, but it is perhaps their means of limiting population growth which is most fascinating. If the population on a given dock plant is running out of control some males take it on themselves to break up other mating couples in an effort to give their own offspring a fair munch of the leaf.

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