Exochomus quadripustulatus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common throughout southern England, rarer in the north and scarce in Scotland. Usually on conifers, with a preference for Pine, but the adults are adventitious and, especially towards the end of summer, are found on a range of trees and shrubs. Adults overwinter on pine, generally in sheltered positions under bark or within cones, sometimes in leaf axils. They usually choose south facing positions. They are active early in the spring on Pine but also in our experience Cedar. On April 11th 2007 two adults were swept from flowering Broom (Cytisus) on Common moor, apparently far from any coniferous trees . During August and September they are common in Cassiobury park on a range of deciduous trees (esp. Beech and Oak) as well as on Pine. Newly hatched adults are reddish but attain the typical colour within 24 hours.

4.5-5.5mm. Almost circular with narrowly explanate sides to pronotum and elytra, very convex and shining. Elytra with two orange marks , subhumeral and below centre, these vary in size but are never fused. Superficially similar to the Kidney spot (Chilocorus renipustulatus (Scriba)), which has a single orange mark to each elytron and apical abdominal sternites red, and the Heather Ladybird (Chilocorus bipustulatus (L.)), which has two or three small red marks forming a transverse pattern across the middle of the elytra. In both these species the front tibiae have a tooth on the outer margin, absent in Exochomus.

Interestingly the Pine Hawkmoth has been found repeatedly on the central part of Common moor. We have yet to find conifer trees nearby.
Exochomus nigromaculatus has entirely black elytra and broad yellow lateral margins to the pronotum. An insect of heather heathland with only a few records from Britain.


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