The name "ladybird" originated in the middle ages when the beetle was known as the "beetle of our Lady" due to many of the contemporary religious paintings depicting the Virgin Mary wearing a red cloak. The name is especially applicable to the seven-spot ladybird since the seven spots were considered to represent the seven joys and seven sorrows.

Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) - Cheshire, England - July 2009

The most common British species is the Seven-spot Ladybird. It is found throughout the UK and in some summers can reach plague proportions, such as in 1976. Unfortunately, when this occurs most of the ladybirds die of starvation when their food runs out and the countryside is littered with the corpses of millions of dead beetles.

Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) - Cheshire, England - June 2008

Ladybirds are considered the "gardener's friend" since during an average lifetime the beetles will consume over 5000 aphids.

Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) - Cheshire, England - June 2008

As with all beetles, the larvae are very different in appearance to the adults and few people would associate the insect below with the familiar adult beetle.

Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) larva - Cheshire, England - June 2008

Once the larva has finished feasting on aphids and has reached its full size, it pupates and transforms itself into the adult beetle.

Seven-spot Ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata) pupa - Cheshire, England - June 2008

The Harlequin Ladybird is an invasive, non-native species from Asia that was introduced in Italy as a bio-control agent to help keep aphid numbers down.  It rapidly spread through Europe and in 2004 reached the UK.  In the last 6 years it has colonised most of England and Wales and in 2009 was confirmed as being found breeding in Scotland too.

Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) - Derbyshire, England - May 2010

There are a total of 42 species of Ladybirds found in the UK (out of a total of 5000 species worldwide). A selection of some of the less well known species are shown below...

Cream-spot Ladybird (Calvia 14-guttata) - West Glamorgan, Wales - July 2011

Subcoccinella 24-punctata - Anglesey, Wales - March 2009


Subcoccinella 24-punctata is a tiny ladybird which is only about 3mm long. You can tell how small it is by comparing it to the grains of sand it is walking across...

Subcoccinella 24-punctata - Anglesey, Wales - March 2009

The scientific names of ladybirds are most commonly writen as a numerical abreviation since their full names take a long time to write. The unabbreviated name of the 24-spot Ladybird is Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata, while the 22-spot ladybird's proper name is Psyllobora vigintiduopuntata.

22-spot Ladybird (Psyllobora 22-punctata) - Cheshire, England - August 2009

The scientific name of the 22-spot Ladybird has been changed in recent years. In most pre-1990 books you will find it referred to as Thea 22-punctata.

22-spot Ladybird (Psyllobora 22-punctata) - Wirral, England - June 2007

2-spot Ladybird (Adalia bipunctata) - Wirral, England - June 2007

Propylea 14-punctata - General Toshevo, Bulgaria - June 2007