Coccinellidae
About 50 species although this includes several only occasionally recorded. 1-10mm. Usually round oval and convex, many are brightly coloured and patterned, some being very variable e.g. Adalia bipunctata, A.decimpunctata, Harmonia axyridis. Antennae short with a characteristic club, inserted close to inner margins of eye. Terminal segment of maxillary palpi triangular. Eyes and mandibles large. Head partly covered by pronotum although it can be retracted when alarmed. Legs of short or medium length with apparently three segmented tarsi, actually four segmented but the third is small and difficult to see as it lies at the base of the large second segment lobes. The genera Nephus and Stethorus have true three segmented tarsi.
Many species are widespread although in general more common in the south. Some are restricted by host plant occurrence e.g. Larch and Pine, or habitat preference e.g. Anisostictus novemdecimpunctatus (Water Ladybird). Most species are carniverous and generally feed on aphids. Subcoccinella is vegetarian on a range of herbaceous plants. Psyllobora, Tytthaspis and Halyzia are mildew feeders. For excellent accounts of the biology and ecology of this family see Majerus.
Majerus and Kearns is the most recent British key and includes a key to larvae. Earlier keys e.g Pope, 1953 or Joy are useful but there have been many changes so care must be exercised. The Majerus key does not include the Harlequin or the Bryony ladybirds.

Coccidulinae
Previously only consisted of 2 genera (Coccidula and Rhyzobius) but now includes a further 7 genera formerly in the, now defunct, subfamily Scymninae. This small subfamily is notable for the amount of comparitively recent new additions to the british list; Rhyzobius chrysomeloides (2001), R.lophanthae (2000), Radolia cardinalis (2004) , Scymnus interruptus (2004), S.jakowlewi (1995), S.rubromaculatus (2002) and Cryptolaemus montroulieri (1994).
The native species of Rhyzobius and Coccidula are widespread and common. R.chrysomeloides certainly in the Watford area appears to be thriving.
The old species of Scymninae are characterised by a much shorter antennae. With the exception of Hyperaspis pseudopustulata Mulsant, a widespread and sometimes common woodland insect, they are all pubescent, much more so than our two Epilachninae. Clitostethus arcuatus (Rossi) is a tiny (<1.5mm) black beetle with lighter marks near the pronotal margins and elytral apices. It is a very local and rare insect of southern english woodland. Our eleven species of Scymnus (1.2-2.3mm) are characterized by their 4 segmented tarsi. Many are widespread and several are common. Stethorus punctillum (Weise) is widespread in southern England in woodland and orchards. It is small, 1.2-1.6mm, black beetle with yellow or brown appendages, strongly rounded and very convex, almost hemispherical. Our three species of Nephus, like Stethorus, have three segmented tarsi but these beetles are distinctly elongate. They are all small, (1.5-1.8mm), black species, N.bisignatus (Boh.) has indistinctly lighter elytral markings while N.quadrimaculatus (Hbst.) and N.redtenbacheri (Muls.) have distinct yellow macula. N.bisignatus is known only from a few south east coast specimens. N.quadrimaculatus was confined to Kent and East Anglia but appears to be spreading and can be found in Watford by sweeping/beating Ivy in Whippendell wood. N.redtenbacheri is widespread and locally common on grassland.

Clitostethus arcuatus

Coccidula rufa

Coccidula rufa

Coccidula scutellata

Coccidula scutellata

Nephus quadrimaculatus

Nephus redtenbacheri

Rhyzobius chrysomeloides

Rhyzobius chrysomeloides

Rhyzobius chrysomeloides

Rhyzobius litura

Rhyzobius litura

Scymnus frontalis

Scymnus interruptus
Chilocorinae
A distinctive subfamily with 4 species in 3 genera; Chilocorus, Exochomus and Platynaspis. P.luteorubra (Goeze) is pubescent, black with two red marks on each elytron. It is rare and local in southern England among low growing vegetation or under bark in winter. The other 3 species are glabrous, almost circular, elytra black with red spots.

Chilocorus renipustulatus

Exochomus quadripustulatus
Coccinellinae
Although the colour and markings vary both within and between species, members of this subfamily are usually recognisable as 'Ladybirds'.

Adalia bipunctata

Adalia bipunctata

Adalia bipunctata

Adalia bipunctata

Adalia bipunctata

Adalia decempunctata

Adalia decempunctata

Adalia decempunctata

Adalia decempunctata

Adalia decempunctata

Adalia decempunctata

Adalia decempunctata

Anatis ocellata

Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata

Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata

Aphidecta obliterata

Aphidecta obliterata

Calvia quattuordecimguttata

Calvia quattuordecimguttata

Coccinella septempunctata

Coccinella undecimpunctata

Halyzia sedecimguttata

Harmonia axyridis

Harmonia axyridis

Harmonia axyridis

Harmonia axyridis

Harmonia axyridis

Harmonia quadripunctata

Hippodamia variegata

Myrrha octodecimguttata

Propylea quattuordecimpunctata

Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata

Tytthaspissedecimpunctata
Epilachninae

Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata
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