Propylea quattuordecimpunctata (Linnaeus, 1758)
Abundant across England, Wales and southern Scotland but becoming rarer further north. The species shows no particular habitat preference and is found throughout the Watford area. Adults overwinter in plant stems, leaf litter and grass tussocks usually near ground level, but often join overwintering groups of other ladybirds, e.g. P.14-punctata and Coccinella 11-punctata L., often forming mixed aggregations. During January 2007 several adults were extracted from Iris stems growing on riverside mud in Cassiobury park. They are active during the first warm days of April and are a common sight among emerging nettles along with Coccinella-septempunctata L. By early May they can be swept from any situation but seem particularly common among riverside vegetation. During August 2006 they were very common on Fagus and Quercus across Cassiobury park and Whippendell wood. While searching for other species we have often beaten Propylea from Pinus sylvestris and Cedrus spp.

2.5-5mm. Glabrous. Antennae, palpi and legs yellow. Each elytron with seven spots but these are usually fused and range of variation is wide, from four to seven distinct spots to a black pattern linking all the spots, to a rare melanic, f. merkeri. The black pronotal pattern varies in size but is relatively constant in shape with four anterior projections, rarely as four distinct spots. Pronotum otherwise yellow. Head yellow with eyes and a broadly triangular clypeal mark black. Underside mainly black.

In our area the commonest elytral form has four distinct spots; two lateral, 1 on disc, 1 subhumeral and the suture broadly black to which is connected a transverse apical streak and a broad angled mark perpendicular behind the middle, The vast majority of local specimens are thus marked.

Description from 8 Watford specimens at X10


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