Flanders Moss NNR
When you think of a Ladybird, what do you picture? I’m going to assume you’re not thinking of one of our female feathered friends. Oh, you are? OK… Well, the kind of Ladybird I’m thinking of is like the one pictured below.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with the 7-spot Ladybird, but did you know we have 25 species of Ladybird in Scotland? I know! I can keep going – Britain has 47 species, Europe has around 260, and…wait for it…there are around 6000 species worldwide!
Here at Flanders, we’ve been admiring lots of different little critters which have been waking up with the sunshine in the last few weeks. The Ladybirds have been standing out amongst the invertebrates which have jeweled trees and fence-posts as we’ve been carrying out various fixing, surveying and monitoring tasks. Mostly because it’s a treat to see the lesser-known species and those of which some of us have never seen before. A new one for me was the 2-spot Ladybird:
The 2-spot can be very variable and, confusingly, not always have just 2 spots!
More inconspicuous Ladybirds have been the little black ones (and I mean little, these ones are half the size of a 7-spot), the Heather and Pine Ladybirds. Just goes to show it’s worth looking closely at the wee, black blobs – these 2 are very similar and probably easily-missed!
The Heather Ladybird is believed to be spreading northward – it has only recently been getting recorded in Scotland and so far is localised to south coast and right here in Central Scotland.
UK Ladybird Survey has some great resources for ladybird biology and identification. They are also encouraging the public to record all their sightings using their form on iRecord.
Our native species are threatened by the Harlequin Ladybird so it is of particular interest to the scheme to see the spread of the species and what effect it is happening on our wildlife.
Ladybirds are largely under-recorded in Scotland, so every record will help!