When I’m out and about on my wanders, it’s usually a preponderance of Harlequin ladybirds that I see but this day was different. Instead of Harlequins, there seemed to be beautiful little Orange ladybirds (Halyzia 16-guttata) wherever I looked. And there weren’t just adult ladybirds – almost every leaf I turned over had their larvae as well. And this was across two different parks, not just in one location.
We are constantly warned that the invasive Harlequins, first recorded in Britain in October 2004, are a serious threat to Britain’s native ladybirds, and surveys have shown that most native ladybirds are in serious decline, partly due to the Harlequin but also due to habitat loss. Perhaps the Orange ladybird is fighting back. It has apparently adapted to living on different tree species, first the sycamore and more recently the ash, so this may be aiding its apparent increase in abundance. I certainly hope so!
Don’t forget that we can’t know what’s happening with British ladybirds (or, indeed, any other living species) unless sightings are recorded. You can record yours through your local biodiversity records centre or directly with the UK Ladybird Survey website here.