Halyzia sedecimguttata (Linnaeus, 1758)
A widespread species, considered local and scarce from woodland habitats. If this is true we are very fortunate in Watford as it is found everywhere and, throughout August and September, very commonly so. While running M.V. lights in Cassiobury park and Whippendell wood during July 2006 we had dozens every night, with specimens turning up well after midnight. On August 11 2006 this was by far the most common species beaten from Fagus in Cassiobury park, and hundreds were seen, along with many other coccinellids. Some of these Halyzia, when taken home and kept with Harlequin Ladybirds (Harmonia axyridis) were seen to feed on aphids. They are common in the town centre and come to M.V. in domestic gardens. The first specimens of 2007 were seen during the unusually warm last weeks of March. Preferred overwintering site is thought to be leaf litter (Majerus and Kearns), the only winter specimens we have found were under dead Horse Chestnut (Aesculus) bark in Oxhey park during december 2006.

Adults feed predominantly on mildew (especially on Sycamore (Acer), common in Whippendell wood), but honeydew is also taken and small aphids in the spring before there is sufficient mildew.

This species is not likely to be confused with any other. 5-7mm. Glabrous. Entirely orange but for black eyes and tips of antennae and claws which are darkened. Pronotum broadly transverse and widely explanate, with 5 marks, two each side and a longitudinal central streak from base to beyond centre. The pronotal marks are generally yellow, contrasting with the elytral markings which are white. Elytra strongly rounded and very convex, basally explanate and with 8 (rarely 6 or 7) white spots on each, these rarely vary in size and are never fused. Elytra somewhat more strongly punctured than pronotum, appearing duller under strong light.

Description from 4 Watford specimens at X10


Home