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I just found one of these in my bedroom window. Someone told me it is a young one...
Not a young one, just one of the many variations of markings they can have. I seem to remember reading somewhere that there are up to 100 varieties!
Useful website - harlequin-survey.org really helps with identifying them. If they are definately harlequins do we have to kill them?? i find that so difficult to do.
No point killing them really. Just like collecing the amount you manage to remove from the wild will be so small (relative to population and reproduction rates) that it will make no difference to populations.
Yes, this a variant of the conspicua form of the Harlequin ladybird, and this will have emerged from its pupa between August and November last year, like all the other Harlequins about at the moment - it's not a young one as there's been no first generation so far this year. The old wives' tale that you can tell the age by counting the spots is completely untrue!
We always recommend that people do not kill ladybirds, even if they are Harlequins - firstly there's the difficulties in identification of the Harlequin, compared to native species, and secondly, as David Howden says, it would be utterly pointless in population terms - even if every single person in the country killed several hundred on the same day, and killed every individual Harlequin in the country, we'd be reinvaded from the continent and in produce from North America withing months
Record your ladybird sightings!
I understand that with some ladybirds their colour darkens as they age - not sure how reliable it is or whether it can be applied to Haxy either.
Yes, many species darken as they age, as melanin is constantly, if gradually, being laid down throughout the ladybird's lifespan - it's quite noticeable in several of the 7-spots which are out and about at the moment after overwintering. It does apply to the Harlequin - in fact, there are recorded examples of spectabilis-form Harlequins emerging from overwintering as conspicua-lookalikes
Lat/Lng: 52.6, -1.2
OS grid ref: SK5501