Harlequin ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird ©Amy Lewis

Harlequin Ladybird

Harlequin Ladybird ©Rachel Scopes

Harlequin ladybird larva

Harlequin ladybird larva ©Tom Hibbert

Harlequin ladybird

Scientific name: Harmonia axyridis
A non-native species originating from Asia, the harlequin ladybird is prevalent in towns and gardens.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 8mm

Conservation status

Invasive, non-native species.

When to see

April to October

About

Originally from Asia, the harlequin ladybird first arrived in the UK in 2004, and has rapidly become one of the most common ladybirds in the country, particularly in towns and gardens. It is one of our larger species and is a voracious predator - it is able to out-compete our native species for aphid-prey and will also eat other ladybirds' eggs and larvae. It can have multiple broods throughout the spring, summer and autumn, which also gives it a competitive edge.

How to identify

Harlequin ladybirds are extremely variable, with up to 19 black spots on a red or orange background. There is a melanic form, with two or more red spots on a black background. The head has an obvious white triangle in the centre, something that neither of the other two similarly sized species have.

Distribution

Widespread in England and Wales and spreading into Scotland.

Did you know?

In North America, the harlequin ladybird is sometimes known as the 'Halloween bug' because it gathers together in enormous numbers during the late autumn, sometimes invading people's homes. This Asian ladybird was introduced into North America to control aphids, but has spread so successfully over the past 25 years that it is now the commonest ladybird there and is seriously threatening endemic species of ladybird.