WFO-supporter Emma Dunnett yesterday spotted adults and larvae together on some fence posts above Weston Woods. The larvae have a quite incredible appearance, whilst the big adults confusingly vary a great deal. Also known as the Asian Ladybird because of its origins, the Harlequin has had a decidedly negative impact on UK wildlife since its introduction in 2004. Not only does it out-compete the native ladybirds for food, it also eats their eggs and larvae, and has better disease-resistance. Introduced in North America to control aphids, it’s having a similar effect there, and is known as the Halloween Ladybug due to its habit of gathering in huge numbers at this time of year (and sometimes invading people’s homes to overwinter). They can even give you a bit of a bite, albeit a small, irritating one. All in all, a bit of a monster!
Photo by Emma Dunnett