Fourteen Spot Ladybird - Propylea 14-punctata, click for a larger image
Click any photo for a larger image
Fourteen Spot Ladybird - Propylea 14-punctata, click for a larger image
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Fourteen Spot Ladybird - Propylea 14-punctata, click for a larger image, licensed for reuse
Photo ©2006 - Algirdas

Fourteen Spot Ladybird - Propylea 14-punctata
Family - Coccinellidae

Of the nearly 100 different Ladybird species in Europe, 42 species are resident in Britain.  The 14-spot Ladybird has many colour and pattern forms and in some beetles, the black spots are so small that the beetle appears almost a complete yellow, whilst in others the black spots are linked or merge and there appear to be fewer than the seven spots on each elytra (wing case).  The main background colour of the elytra varies between yellow and orange with 14 rectangular black spots on the elytra, mostly these spots merge into larger block patterns, rarely are they separated.  These variations can lead to confusion in identification.

This attractive little beetle is 3-7mm (0.12-0.3in) long and can be easily missed amongst the shrubs and trees that are their preferred habitat.  It can be seen in the UK and Europe on deciduous trees and herbaceous plants in meadows, fields, forests, gardens and parks for most of the year, except for the coldest months.  Like most ladybird species the 14-spot Ladybird eats insects, so can be an effective pest control species, but is regarded as an invasive pest itself in North America.

The 26 recognisable UK Ladybird species -

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