|Cream-spot Ladybird, UEA, 28 March 2019 (Max Hellicar)|
Description and Identification
The Cream-spot Ladybird Calvia quattuordecimguttata is a small beetle in the family Coccinellidae. Worldwide there are around 3,500 species of described coccinellid, with 46 of these species currently occurring in the UK. Twenty-six of these species are considered to be ‘conspicuous’ ladybirds (easily recognisable as ladybirds), with the other 20 species considered to be ‘inconspicuous’ ladybirds.
|Probably the most well known of the UK's conspicuous ladybirds - Seven-spot Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata, UEA, 29 March 2019 (Max Hellicar)|
The Cream-spot Ladybird is one of the 26 species of conspicuous ladybird in the UK. It is maroon-brown in colouration with fourteen creamy-white spots. It is most likely to be encountered between April and October, overwintering in plant matter and bark crevices. It preferred habitat is deciduous woodland and hedgerows, feeding on aphids and psyllids.
There are two main confusion species in the UK, both of which are also conspicuous ladybirds – the Orange Ladybird Halyzia sedecimguttata and the Eighteen-spot Ladybird Myrrha octodecimguttata – both of which can be eliminated based on colour (the former species being lighter in colour and the latter species being darker in colour than the Cream-spot Ladybird), number of spots and shape of spots.
Species: C. quattuordecimguttata
Distribution and Status
It is distributed widely throughout England and Wales, including throughout Norfolk, with a slightly more patchy distribution in Scotland, being much more scattered across Ireland.
Having just returned from a full morning of moth and bird recording on campus on 28th March, I opened my room window for a few minutes to cool down. During this short time, a Cream-spot Ladybird (pictured in this blog post) had flown in, pleasantly surprising me. More often than not, you will have to seek out wildlife, but sometimes it can be a good tactic to wait for it to come to you!
References and Sources of Information
Roy, H., & Brown, P. (2018). Field Guide to the Ladybirds of Great Britain and Ireland. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.