Belongs to: beetles

Harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis

Also known as: asian lady beetle


Best time to see: all year

Key facts

A ladybird that was introduced to N America and continental Europe from Asia as a biological control for aphids

Has spread rapidly including across the UK and is now believed to threaten native species of ladybird

Occupies a wide range of habitats and over-winters in large numbers indoors and in wall cavities

Recognition

Very variable in appearance: colour orange-yellow through red to black, with up to 21 orange-red or black spots

7-8 mm long (most native species 5 mm or less) with large white patches on its pronotum (i.e. "face")

Feed on aphids, but also eat eggs and larvae of butterflies and moths, and other small insects, including native ladybirds

Lifecycle

Like all ladybirds, have four distinct life stages: egg, larva, pupa, then adult (complete metamorphosis)

Eggs are laid on plants in spring, hatching in a few days and developing into adults over 3–5 weeks

A single female can lay over 1,000 eggs and may live for 2 or 3 years

  • Main photo
  • larva

Photo © Tony Gunton

Photo © Tony Gunton