Coccinella septempunctata Linnaeus, 1758
Common and usually very common throughout the British Isles in a wide range of habitats. Adults overwinter, either singly or in small groups, sometimes along with other species, under bark or among moss and grass tussocks. Depending on season they appear towards the end of March and by mid-April are very common among low vegetation throughout Watford. They do not seem to have any particular habitat preference and at this early time of the year appear very deep red and distinctive among low foliage. Adults remain common until early June when numbers fall and the larvae can be seen on nettles everywhere. Adults reappear during August when freshly emerged specimens are often seen, these will go on to hibernate. This is a generalization and occurence will depend on season; temperature and prey density being (obviously) important e.g. eggs hatch from between 2 days(30C) and 10 days (15C), larvae develop from between 7 days (30C) and 36 days (15C) and pupae from 3 days(30C) and 15 days (15C)(Majerus). Pupae are found throughout the summer in most situations being common under windowsills and fence rails as well as on bark and under leaves. Both adults and larvae are aphidophagous.

5.5-8mm. Of characteristic broad oval form. Glabrous. Head with white macula inside each eye. Legs and palpi black, antennae brown with first joint black. Thorax broadest close to base, black, front angles sharp with large square white marks. Elytra with shared black scutellary spot and each marked white between this and and pronotal hind margin. Each red or orange with 3 black marks which vary in size but are only very rarely joined. A fully melanic form, f. anthrax, is rare. Underside black with a white mark in front of the mid femora - the mesosternal epimera.

The scarce seven spot, C. magnifica Redtenbacher, has the metasternal epimera white also, visible just in front of the hind femora.

Description from 2 Watford specimens at X10


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