tootsietim's picture

Why are Harlequins so varied?

Observed: 8th November 2009 By: tootsietimtootsietim’s reputation in Invertebratestootsietim’s reputation in Invertebratestootsietim’s reputation in Invertebrates
reed bunting 026
reed bunting 032
reed bunting 033
reed bunting 023

Large congregations of Harlequin and 7 spot ladybirds, quite active in warm sunshine.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) interacts


tootsietim's picture

These, and several others I

These, and several others I saw at this location, were present in quite large numbers. These ones were far more varied than those I regularly see in Norwich (which are normally of two kinds) with at least four different colour variations.
Does anyone know why thisspecies should be so variable?

rimo's picture

No-one really knows why the

No-one really knows why the species is so variable - indeed, it's slightly odd that it is, given that the colours are warnings to predators to keep clear! There seem to be advantages to being a melanic morph during the winter, and to being the orange Succinea form when temperatures are higher, and the genes controlling colour form also seem to influence other traits, such as voraciousness. Interestingly, non-aphid-eating ladybirds seem to be far more fixed in terms of colouration and patterning than ladybirds which do eat aphids, with the notable exception of the 7-spot

Record your ladybird sightings!

Martin Harvey's picture

identifications and agreements

Hi rimo,

In case it's not clear (and it probably isn't, since this issue has arisen quite a few times!), our intention for the identification section was that if you agree with an identification you should click on "I agree", rather than adding the same identification again. Our intention was that you should only add a further identification if you disagree with the one/s suggested.

I've added some guidance about it in the Help section:

Having the ID repeated doesn't cause any problems, and I'm not complaining about it, but hopefully the above link will help explain what we had in mind for the site. Let me know if it doesn't help!

Entomologist and biological recorder

pm43's picture

Harlequin ladybirds

Is it true the Harlequin is displacing native ladybirds and that they are a real threat to their survival?