British Ladybirds

An amateur take on the exciting and addictive world of British ladybirds

Finding and recording Ladybirds

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll no doubt know that I have a wee fondness for Britain’s ladybirds. So much so that I now volunteer with the UK Ladybird Survey as a vice-county recorder covering Northumberland & Durham.

Setting out on a journey of discovery in 2020, I have since tracked down 28 of Britain’s 46 ladybird species in my local area – the under-recorded North East of England.

The following pages share a summary of that journey so far, as well as a few discoveries made along the way.

Finding Ladybirds

Looking for ladybirds across the North East, it quickly became apparent that the majority are somewhat particular about the habitats they frequent.

This page aims to give a feel for the type of ladybirds you can expect to encounter in different habitats.

The Eyed Ladybird is the largest of our British Ladybirds
Eyed Ladybird (Anatis ocellata)

Recording Ladybirds

So, you’ve identified an area of suitable habitat and now, you’re ready to find some ladybirds. How exactly do you do it?

Sweep-netting, tree beating and searching by eye, this page shares a few of the ways you can get closer to ladybirds in your local area.

Striped Ladybird (Myzia oblongoguttata)

Great sites for North East ladybirds

Starting out recording ladybirds, it quickly became apparent that some sites are better than others when it comes to tracking down these colourful little insects.

Whether down to habitat diversity or simply blind luck, a number of local sites have quickly become favourites when it comes to ladybird hunting. Explore a few of these below.

Conspicuous Ladybirds

Of the 46 ladybird species found in the UK, only 26 are recognisable as ladybirds. Of these, I’ve managed to find 22 to date in the North East.

The profiles here share a little more about these fascinating species.

Inconspicuous Ladybirds

Inconspicuous ladybirds can be a daunting bunch and can take quite a bit of finding. Still, little compares to the contentment of finally tracking one down.

New to these minute little insects, to date, I’ve only encountered 5 of Britain’s 20 inconspicuous ladybirds in my area.

Spotted Marsh Ladybird (Coccidula scutellata)

Ladybird colour forms

Some British ladybirds can be confusing at the best of times but more so when you consider that many species also exhibit an incredible diversity of colour forms.

From chameleon-like 10-Spot Ladybirds to far more manageable species, here are some of the colour forms I’ve observed so far.

Melanic Hieroglyphic ladybird (Coccinella hieroglyphica)

Why ladybirds?

With a foremost interest in botany and recording our wild plants, it seems odd that I now find myself slightly obsessed with ladybirds.

Casting aside their fascinating life cycle, ladybirds are diverse, beautiful and most of the time at least, rather conspicuous. Offering interest in all seasons, unlike butterflies, bees and other commonly studied insect groups, they offer something new and exciting throughout the year.

Searching for ladybirds seems to be a lot like fishing – you might have an idea of what is lurking in a particular habitat but until you cast your net, you never really know what is set to emerge!

Spotted Marsh Ladybird, Coccidula scutellata, at Gosforth Nature Reserve

This week, I was delighted to record what appears to be the first Spotted Marsh Ladybird recorded in South Northumberland (VC67). Searching various local wetlands this year for Red Marsh Ladybird and Water Ladybird, one thing that has persisted at the back of my mind had been the possibility of finding the former’s far scarcerContinue reading “Spotted Marsh Ladybird, Coccidula scutellata, at Gosforth Nature Reserve”