14 Spotted Ladybird (Propylea Quattuordecimpuntat) seen in West Hunsbury


Propylea quatuordecimpunctata

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The 14-spotted Ladybird (Propylea quatuordecimpunctata) is a small lady beetle, native and widespread in the Old World, and invasive in North America. It is sometimes referred to by the common name 14-spotted ladybird beetle, or simply P-14. The background color ranges from cream through yellow to light orange, but not red. Only rarely are 14 separate spots present on the elytra; most commonly, several of the spots fuse into larger markings, particularly along the midline, where they often create a shape resembling an anchor, sometimes fusing to such an extent as to render the body almost entirely black except for 12 pale spots.

The 14-spot Ladybird is a medium-sized ladybird found in a wide variety of habitats, particularly grassland, woodland edge, towns and gardens. Both adults and larvae feed on aphids, making them a friend in the garden. The 14-spot Ladybird has a long hibernation period, emerging as late as May to breed. Its bright colouration is a warning to predators that it is distasteful, although some birds may still have a go at eating it.

The 14-spot Ladybird is bright yellow with up to 14 rectangular black spots on the wing cases; these spots are variable in shape and may become fused to create a chequered pattern. It can be distinguished from the smaller 22-spot Ladybird (the only other yellow and black ladybird) by its more rectangular, merging spots