Butterflies and Ladybirds

Today the British charity Butterfly Conservation launches its Big Butterfly Count. All you need to take part is fifteen minutes in your garden. Download an identification chart and find out more here.

As well as butterflies, I’ve been spotting ladybirds today. Back in April, I noticed 7-spots (Coccinella septempunctata)  emerging from among the violets. They do that every spring. And every summer, when the crowds of aphids appear, I wonder where the ladybirds are when I need them.


You can be sure they’re never far away. This morning I was about to tidy up some unsightly dead ox-eye daisies, and there among a carnage of aphids, I spied two generations of 7-spots.

The larvae have a distinctive pattern of two sets of double orange spots along each side.7spot_ladybird_family

Needless to say, my flowerbed is still full of dead daisies. They’ll stay undisturbed until all the ladybirds have grown and flown.

By the way, the larvae of the Harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) look similar, but they have a line of orange spots along each side and a square arrangement of four orange tufts in the middle. They also are voracious aphid-eaters. harlequin_ladybird_larvaYou can find out more about ladybirds on the UK Ladybird Survey website.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.