Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Breaking news: The invasion



Okay, so maybe I'm being just a little bit over dramatic but I rarely get the opportunity.


When I got to the office today I found this little creature, beautiful as it is, attached to my leg.  I removed it and then it occurred to me.  Could this be a Harlequin Ladybird, Hamonia axyridis?  It was most definitely an unusual specimen.  The number of spots were more numerous than others I've come across.





With a little research I had eliminated our native ladybirds and had convinced myself that it is in fact a Harlequin.  So, what do you think?


For more information on Harlequin Ladybirds click here.  I have reported my sighting to the U.K. Ladybird Survey and urge you to do the same so that we can monitor the spread of such invasive species and also populations of our native species.

13 comments:

  1. Gotta love this time of year. They will soon be flooding the windows as it cools outside.

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  2. Sure looks like what we call in the states---Asian lady beetle or Hamonia axyridis. Here's a link to a university publication that might be helpful. http://www.aces.edu/pubs/docs/A/ANR-1079/

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  3. I'm the proud (?) owner of the first one found on our allotment site earlier this year in May :(

    They're extremely variable, as you probably found when you looked at the website. I also reported mine.

    Re your comment over at mine re the bloggers meeting. Shame you weren't there as anyone interested in blogging and food growing is welcome. I see you're Following Patrick (Bifurcated Carrots) who organised the event, so you should get plenty of warning about it next time.

    Loved your Sydney Botanic Gardens post too - it's one of my favourite places in the whole wide world.

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  4. PS is there any way you can turn off the film advert at the bottom of the screen? It flashes quite a bit, so might be that good for anyone viewing who has epilepsy...

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  5. I'm not familiar with this species. Perhaps they don't proliferate this far south. I'll have to check.

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  6. I think I saw two when starting to sort out my daughter's garden in Dagenham last weekend...
    Oh shit!

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  7. Thanks for all your comments!

    The Harlequin (common name) is the same beetle that you know as the Asian Lady Beetle. They are an interloper here and likely to seriously damage our native species.

    VP: I'm just annoyed at myself for not picking up on the bloggers day. I'm not sure whether I missed the announcement while on holiday, or not? Will definitely make it to next years!

    The adverts are quite changeable. I hadn't seen the flashing video but if it persists could you let me know? I'll try and do something about it then!

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  8. I will definitely keep my eyes open. I haven't seen one like that before!

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  9. Glad to see it was only a harmless ladybird attached to you.

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  10. I'm still not sure if I could recognise one for certain as they are so variable - and I'm not familiar with all our native variants. The guidelines aren't helpful either as there isn't a single outstanding difference I can rely on. I'm waiting for reliable mugshots.

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  11. Hi Ryan. I am happy, because your blog taught me something new about these beautiful little beetles. I have noticed, quite happily, that I have many lady bug larvae in my patio area, about ready to emerge. I went to a park in the foothills about an hour from my home, and while I took a stroll, I was forced to walk through a cloud of insects. I was not intimidated, although my friend was, because I saw the red immediately and knew them to be lady bugs. They were funny and beautiful. But again, thank you for the lesson on Harlequins!

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  12. Hey, Ryan! I remember an incredible investation of these adorable ladybugs several years ago. Everybody was HATING them. They were falling out of light fixtures and lazing about window sills by the hundreds! Funny how until then, I knew nothing of their little stinky leg glands! Genious! (Drove a VW Superbeetle for 18 yrs and miss it emmensly! But it smelled great...)

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  13. While I'm not going to celebrate the invasion of harlequin ladybirds, I'm going to point out the silver lining - at least they eat aphids.

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