They're here! The invasive Harlequin Ladybird (also variously known as multicoloured, multivariate, Japanese, Asian and, in the USA especially, Halloween ladybird) has reached my garden. The distinctive spiny larva was photographed on 29rd May 2007, and the first adult 4 days later.
With ample supplies of aphids in the garden it seems inevitable that these will be the first of many. One constraining factor may be a tendency of the larvae to eat each other, which seems to be what is happening in the far right photo.
More information, identification tips and a reporting system can be found at the
Harlequin Ladybird Survey.
The London Ladybird Survey have a
of adult insects.
|Almost spotless elytra, a few black spots on thorax||19 spots, usually a black "W" on thorax (form succinea)|
|(form spectabilis) 4 spots - roundish or "Pacman"||2 annular spots (form conspicua, June 2009)
Far right - 2 roundish spots
|A newly emerged axyridis, seen with its pupal case, has unmarked elytra; the markings on the thorax suggest this is destined to be a nineteen-spot form.||By September 2007 a colony of H. axyridis had gathered on a Kilmarnock Willow, which is infested by Giant Willow Aphids (Tuberolachnus salignus). Clearly the ladybirds were preying on these aphids, and this one was about to catch its lunch.|