Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata (24 spot) (Linnaeus, 1758)
Active from early spring or late winter this is among the first ladybirds to appear in the sweepnet when working meadows or grassland, indeed it is occasionaly found by this method throughout the winter. Adults overwinter in moss or grass tussocks and are found in samples of these from all over Watford. Both larvae and adults are vegetarian feeding on a variety of plants including Campions, vetches, trefoils, chickweed and plantains among others. They will also take grasses and on the continent have been a pest of lucerne.
Common across England and Wales, less so in Scotland. Although predominantly a grassland and heathland species we have found it in most habitats, woodland ridings and clearings, parks and domestic gardens throughout Watford.
Until quite recently the only British species of Epilachninae .

3-4mm.Unmistakable by virtue of being covered in short pale pubescence, this, along with the fine and even puncturation covering the head, thorax and elytra gives the insect a chacteristic silvery matt appearance in the field. Colour uniformly dark orange, including appendages. Elytra with a number of black spots, usually around 20 but any number from 0 to 26 have been recorded. Spot size varies widely and fusion between spots is common. Very rarely the spots are yellow, the rare f. nigra is melanic. Mandibles are adapted for plant feeding with 4 or 5 large teeth apically and a dentate mid/basal edge.

Description from 6 Watford specimens at X20

The European Henosepilachna argus (Fourcroy) was discovered in Surrey in 1977. Very distinctive; 6-8mm, pubescent and bright amber with 11 black spots. Established around West Molesey as a breeding species. On White Bryony, also beaten from Ivy and Honeysuckle.
Menzies and Spooner, Coleopterist 9:1-4


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