Sunday, 5 December 2010

Just when you think you've worked out the ladybirds....

It's been hot and wet and interesting in the garden today.  After a particularly heavy downpour of rain, i thought I'd go out to see whether the spiders were still sittingout in the open.  They were.  And so were the ladybirds...  Coccinella transversalis... plenty of them.

And then I found a completely different one....
 ... I have counted the spots.  If you count the tiny black spots at the front and centre of the wing covering,  there are 13 spots on each wing...
... and so I've been looking online to find this new ladybird... and I think it is most probably a Twenty-eight Spot Ladybird  (Henosepilachna vigintioctopuntata) which, it turns out, are not a beneficial garden inhabitant at all!
They eat plants of the solanaceae family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, etc.)
Most ladybirds are beneficial to the garden, but Twenty Eight Spot Ladybirds can be leaf eating pests. They are orange with 13 black spots on each wing cover. ( That only makes 26 spots - so where are the other two spots? - there seem to be more than two on the thorax?) They are fairly large ladybirds The larvae are yellow with stiff dark hairs.
These ladybirds are common pests of plants in the Solanaceae family (Potatoes, tomatoes etc.) such as potatoes and eggplants, but also attack pumpkins, rock melons and other vegetable crops.
I'm not 100% sure,  but I'll certainly be watching.

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