Tuesday 28 June 2011

A new ladybird for Islay

Thanks to the keen eyes of Gill, who spotted it on Bob Paget's allotment at Port Charlotte, and Bob's interest in wildlife, we have the first record of Orange Ladybird (Halyzia 16-guttata) for Islay. And, as you can see from the photograph, it has white spots not black ones (there is only one other species - the Cream-spot Ladybird - which has white spots, but only 14 not 16 of them!).
Orange Ladybirds feed mainly on mildew, with aphids, the mainstay food for the majority of ladybirds, only eaten occasionally. Their habitat is woodland, which Bob's allotment certainly is not, though there is some woodland only a couple of hundred yards away.
There is a single record for Colonsay in 2008, so this is a second record for the three islands.
Photographing it as it scurried around the glass jamjar Bob had put it in wasn't easy, so I've also included a photograph by Mike Majerus who wrote the definitive work on the group in the Collins New Naturalist series.

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