This cute little fella turns out to be a Harlequin Ladybird larva. They are non-native to the UK and seem to be out-competing our native varieties. photo of Harlequin ladybird larva This one was spotted at Credenhill Park Wood, just past the carpark, sitting on a leaf bold as brass. Ladybirds are very useful to gardeners and farmers as they are ferocious devourers of aphids and other pests. You may be familiar with the rhyme:

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one,
And her name is Ann,
And she hid under the baking pan.

There are several variants to this. It probably stems from the burning of stubble after the harvest. The flying insects would be able to flee, but the pupae form (Ann, or sometimes Nan) would have to stay put and hope that the pupal casing would protect it. It is considered unlucky to kill a ladybird, so it would seem prudent to warn them of any fires being set. The Harlequin Ladybird Survey has a website with more information about this invader and various ways of submitting your own findings to them.

15 thoughts on “Ladybirds

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      • As much as i adore ‘all things outer-space’ – Earth’s microcosm’s will never cease to amaze me.
        Unlike my peers, most of my youth’s free time was spent rambling the forests of New England.
        Do you have anything akin to what we call ‘Indian Pipes’ ? Haven’t figured out how to apply
        a photo to this commentary. But I’ll try to e-mail you a shot. These translucent critters grow
        right out from under leaves all over New England. Oddly, they seem to like pathways – I think
        where there is a path there is also a breach in the shade. As delicate as they are they seem to
        crave the dappled sunlight.

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    • Aw shucks, you are too kind. Seriously I don’t know much of anything, I see stuff then have to look it up in books and the web, so I wouldn’t want kids using this for their homework!

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