Several species of wasp and true fly lay their eggs on or inside ladybird larvae, pupae or adults. When the eggs hatch, the larvae of these parasitoids feed inside their ladybird host, exiting when fully-fed to pupate and emerge as adults outside the ladybird, which dies as a result. These parasitoids include the wasp Dinocampus coccinellae (Braconidae) – see picture, at least one species of scuttle-fly (Phoridae), and a tachinid fly.
Size: 4 – 5mm
Basic colour: red or black
Pattern colour: black or red spots, spodges or grid-pattern
Number of spots: 0-16
Spot fusions: sometimes
Melanic (black) form: many and common
Pronotum: white with black spots, a black m-mark or mainly black
Leg colour: black
Habitat: very varied
Host plant: very varied
Overwintering: in houses, on bark
Other notes: Very variable in pattern. The ladybird that most commonly overwinters in buildings.
Size: 3.5 – 4.5mm
Basic colour: cream, yellow, orange, red, brown, purple or black
Pattern colour: cream, yellow, orange, red, purple, maroon, brown or black
Number of spots: 0-15
Spot fusions: common
Melanic (black) form: various and common
Pronotum: white with 5 dark spots, which may be fused, or dark trapezium mark
Leg colour: brown
Habitat: deciduous trees and hedgerows
Host plant: various trees
Overwintering: leaf litter, beech nuts
Other notes: Extremely variable in colour and pattern.
When I iRecorded this Pine Ladybird it was classed as out of area so its the first recorded sighting of it in St Davids.
Size: 3 – 4.5mm
Basic colour: black
Pattern colour: red spots
Number of spots: 2-4
Spot fusions: none
Melanic (black) form: N/A
Leg colour: black
Host plant: needled conifers, sallows and willows
Overwintering: in leaf litter, foliage and bark crevices of evergreen trees and shrubs
Other notes: Round in shape with a pronounced rim around the margin of the wing cases. The spots at the outer front margin of the wing cases are comma-shaped.
The Orange Ladybird is a large ladybird that feeds on mildew (fungus) on trees, particularly Sycamores, but has recently spread on to Ash and is increasing in numbers. It hibernates in leaf litter or in sheltered locations. The lifecycle of a ladybird consists of four phases: the egg; the larval stage, during which the larva undergoes a series of moults; the pupa in which the larva develops into an adult; and the adult phase, during which the female lays egg in batches of up to 40.
How to identify
The Orange Ladybird is pale orange with 14 to 16 white spots. The Cream-spot Ladybird is similar, but is a darker browny-orange colour and is a little bit smaller. Cream-spot Ladybirds are more often found on bushes and at woodland edges.
Where to find it
Widespread in England and Wales, less common in Scotland.