medium sized ladybird ( 6-7 mm) is very distinctive, having orange elytra
each with 8 (occasionally 7) white or cream spots.
is essentially a southern species, but since the late 1980's it has
been recorded with increasing frequency in Cumbria - although it is
still probably very much under-recorded.
most ladybird species, it does not normally feed on aphids, but on powdery
mildew. For this reason it is often found near Sycamore trees, which
provide both mildew and honeydew. However, the specimen in the photo
(above left) turned up in our bedroom! We've also found it on the car
in previous years.
winter, clusters with other Orange ladybirds are formed; occasionally
mixed clusters are found with other species of ladybird. In mild winters
the clusters may be found on the trunks of trees (as in the above example
from Howe Ridding NNR), but in colder winters the clusters form on the
ground in leaf litter. It is possible that this species can predict
the severity of a coming winter and act accordingly.
same over-wintering sites are used in successive years, although ladybirds
do not survive two winters. It appears that something draws the off-spring
back to the same spot, possibly some chemical deposit.