FURTHER LADYBIRD ARTICLES:     Orange Ladybird | Seven-spot Ladybird | Water Ladybird

THE 7 SPOT
LADYBIRD

  • The 7 spot is the classic and most abundant ladybird species in Cumbria. Like the other common species, the 2 spot, it is found in a wide variety of habitats because it feeds on many different species of aphid.
  • The characteristic bright colour is a well-known warning device to predators that it is not pleasant to eat because it contains poisonous chemicals. However, this is not always fool-proof as birds that catch insects on the wing are known to take ladybirds. Presumably, the urgency of the moment and the whirr of the wings stop the predator from noticing the warning.
  • The species overwinters in any sheltered spot - one favourite place in my garden is within a very tight conical abies conifer. Usually small numbers aggregate here, with up to a dozen appearing on the surface in the first warm days of spring.
  • Mating takes place in late spring, without much ritual it would seem. If the female is ready it may be a case of first come first served (see photo above!). If the female wants to reject the male she simply lifts her body off the ground to try to dislodge the male.
  • Eggs are usually laid in late May or early June and take a few days to hatch. During the next four weeks or so, the larvae pass through several instar stages by shedding their skin. The late instars (see photo) are easy to find, although few people who know ladybirds well would know what these were!
  • The pupation stage may last from a few days to a fortnight depending on the temperature. In my garden, leaves of sturdy plants like dahlia are a popular location. Adults emerge in September and October and spend a few weeks feeding to build up fat reserves for the winter before moving to over-wintering sites.
  • During very hot weather population explosions can occur. If the supply of aphids runs out, swarms of ladybirds will start biting humans, especially those lying on the beach covered in suntan cream (as happened memorably in the mid 1970's).

 

 

LINKS TO PAGES

BEAUTIFUL DEMOISELLE
BEE ISSUES
CHICK FLICKS
DAFFODILS (wild)
DOWNY EMERALD DRAGONFLY
FUND RAISING
HEDGEHOGS
LADY'S SLIPPER ORCHID
LICHENS
MONTH BY MONTH
NATTERJACK TOAD
PIED FLYCATCHER et al
REED WARBLERS et al
SISKIN et al
SWALLOWS et al
TERNS
TREE PIPITS
TREE SPARROWS
WAXCAP FUNGI