Aphidecta obliterata (Linnaeus, 1758)
Widely distributed throughout mainland UK although records are more scattered in western Scotland, the west country and south Yorkshire. Associated with conifers, sources variously quote coniferous woodland and , according to eg Joy or Majerus and Kearns, common in this habitat. Our single Watford record is from Cassiobury park during August 2006 when a single specimen was beaten from a 'weeping' purple beech (Fagus sylvetia purpurescens) which at that time (but not during 2007 and 2008) hosted a huge population of ladybirds including Calvia, Adalia spp., Coccinella septempunctata, Harmonia quadripunctata and Myrrha etc. There are many conifers through the park including mature Pines close to this site, and a little further away Cedrus, Larix and many ornamental conifers. Adults overwinter in Pine bark crevices (Majerus and Kearns) but we do not know whether Pine is a preferred host. Pine is common locally but the foliage is usually to high to sample. If the species is common locally it seems likely it keeps to inaccessable conifer foliage as it is unlikely we would overlook this very distinctive species.

3.5-5mm. Elongate oval, elytra strongly convex, pronotum much less so. Entirely testaceous with black marks as described, appendages darker. Upper surface densely and finely punctured, cuticle smooth and shiny (X20). Head widest across eyes, temples long and tapering towards base, testaceous with basal half ie behind the level of the eyes, black and a black arch shaped mark in front of eyes. Eyes strongly incised by antennal insertions. Antennae as long as width of head across eyes, segments elongate and 9-11 forming a weak club, inserted in front of eyes, insertions obvious from above. Pronotum broadest near middle, finely bordered laterally and strongly sinuate along basal margin. With foveate or slightly transverse depression either side of middle towards base and four variously developed dark marks forming an M shape on disc. Elytra testaceous, often with a pink tinge, either unicolorous or with black marks, generally longitudinal laterally behind middle and suture narrowly black. Humeral calli well developed and lateral margin finely bordered. Scutellum small but obvious. Joy quotes v. fenestrata Weise with entirely black elytra. Last segment of tarsi very long, as long as or longer than first and second segments combined. Claws appendiculate, obvious at X20.

Description from 1 Watford specimen at X20


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