ch7343's picture

Different ladybirds mating

Observed: 19th June 2011 By: ch7343
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - current student
ch7343’s reputation in Invertebrates
different ladybirds mating
ladybirds
Description:
Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) interacts

Comments

ch7343's picture

different ladybirds are the same

... how can they look so different, yet be the same species? (like dogs, I suppose?)

DavidHowdon's picture

Environmental

I am told that some of the variation in the patterns of H axy is determined by the environment in which they develop.

There is possibly a genetic component to the variation (like in dogs) as well.

rimo's picture

There's a gene (or, often, a

There's a gene (or, often, a couple of genes) for elytral colour, and in some species, like the Harlequin, the genes have several alleles (versions) which code for different colour patterns on the elytra (a similar system to hair colour in humans). In British Harlequins, there's 3 colour forms: succinea (orange with black spots), conspicua (black with 2 red spots), and spectabilis (black with 4 red spots).

As David says, there is some environmental determination in the Harlequin - this doesn't change the form (it won't make conspicua turn into succinea, etc). It is most noticeable in succinea where, if the larva/pupa is cold, the spots are larger and fuse together.

Record your ladybird sightings!
www.harlequin-survey.org
www.ladybird-survey.org

ch7343's picture

Thank you!

I will look more at the websites as spring and summer progresses, thank you.