A Ladybird Finally Gets Its Spots

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis f.succinea

Let’s have a quick recap and start from the beginning shall we? We have a pair of the adult Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) mating.

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis larvae

From the eggs the female laid after the union above we have the larva.

Harlequin Ladybird pupa

Then on the side of my green wheely bin I discovered what the larva changed into. This fresh pupa which then hardend and turned into …

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis pupa

… one of these, a later stage pupa. This is a different one I found on a Hawthorn leaf. And then back to the really green wheely bin and …

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis

… after keeping an eye on it for days I was lucky enough to just catch the adult emerging from the pupa case,

Harlequin Ladybird Harmonia axyridis

Eventually the ladybird or ladybug gets its spots. This is a variety of Harlequin called succinea. The cycle will begin anew.

And all this going on within our midst as we go about our daily routines. Such is the wonder of nature.

Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May and June 2017.

Orange Ladybird

Halyzia sedecimguttata

Orange Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata)

This is an attractive ladybird with an orange ground colour and 12-16 white spots. It has orange legs. Length up to 6mm.

This ladybird breeds later in the year than most other species as it has to wait for sufficient mildew to grow on trees to feed their developing larvae. They overwinter in crevices in bark or leaf litter. Both the adults and larvae feed on powdery white mildews which grow on deciduous trees.

Seen April to October. Mainly found in woodland, but also urban settings like parks and gardens. Previously an indicator of ancient woodland, its recent move to sycamore and ash trees has caused its numbers to increase and it is common and widespread.

Photograph of Orange Ladybird (Halyzia sedecimguttata), taken June and October 2013, local wood and nature reserve. © Pete Hillman 2013. Camera used Nikon Coolpix P500.

14-spot Ladybird

Propylea 14-punctata

14-spot Ladybird – Prop14-spot Ladybird (Propylea 14-punctata)ylea 14-punctata

Also referred to as ‘Propylea quatuordecimpunctata’, which is quite a mouthful, this is a small bright yellow ladybird with seven or more or less black rectangular or roundish spots on each elytron. There is a broad black line running along the suture, and in the centre maybe a rectangular spot. It is common to find individuals with fused spots.The legs are brown. Length up to 6mm.

Both the adults and larvae feed on aphids. Most active from May to September. Found in various habitats, but especially where there are trees and shrubs, including hedgerows and gardens. Common and widespread throughout.

Photograph taken of 14-spot Ladybird (Propylea 14-punctata)  June 2016, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

7-spot Ladybird

Coccinella septempunctata

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)

One of Britain’s commonest ladybirds. Brightly coloured red with seven spots on the elytra (wing cases) warns predators that they taste nasty. They can also play dead and secrete a toxin when threatened. Length up to 9mm.

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)

After mating eggs are laid, and the larva or grub emerges after about a week. After around three to four weeks pupation takes place in a hard casing. Another week on and the adult beetle finally emerges. It takes a few days before the wing cases harden and the bright colouration and markings express themselves. Both the larva and the adult insect hunt and consume large numbers of  aphids and scale insects. They are a true farmer’s and gardener’s friend. One ladybird can devour up to 50 aphids a day.

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata)

They hibernate over winter in close clusters in sheds or cellars, or under tree bark, and are active March to October. They live in a wide range of habitats including gardens, hedgerows and meadows. Widespread and the most common of all the UK’s ladybirds.

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) larva

Photograph taken of 7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) May 2014 and June 2016, local woodland margin and rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014 & 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Cream-spot Ladybird

Calvia quattuordecimguttata

Cream-spot Ladybird (Calvia quattuordecimguttata)

A maroon-coloured beetle with 14 cream coloured spots. The pronotum is maroon with cream markings, and the legs are brown. Length 4 to 5mm.

They feed on aphids and psyllids (plant lice, and are seen April to October.

Found in deciduous woods and hedgerows. Common and widespread throughout Britain, but scarcer further north into Scotland.

Photograph taken of Cream-spot Ladybird (Calvia quattuordecimguttata) May 2014, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.


2-spot Ladybird

Adalia bipunctata

This can be quite a variable ladybird, with the typical form having 2 black spots on bright red elytra, as in the above photograph. Other forms have black elytra with 2, 4 or 6 red spots. They are fairly small, growing up to 6mm long.

It is a very fierce predator of aphids.

Found all year round, and in the winter months it maybe found hibernating in sheltered crevices of bark or in outbuildings like garden sheds. It is most active March to November. Seen in most habitats, including hedgerows and gardens. An abundant and widespread species throughout Great Britain.

Photograph taken May 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire.