The Harlequin Ladybird Beetle (Harmonia axyridis) is a small insect in the Coccinellidae family of beetles. It is a coccinellid beetle. It is also known as the Multicolored Asian Beetle, the Asian Ladybeetle, the Harlequin Ladybug Beetle, or the Halloween Ladybeetle.
The Harlequin Ladybird Beetle has many colours and varieties. It is domed with a smooth, oval-shaped body. It has a head, pronotum, and body with elytra (two wing coverings or cases). Its wings are hidden underneath the wing cases. It is usually red or orange with 0-21 black spots, with a dark underside. Extreme forms have a pattern of orange and white irregular-shaped spots on a black body, with white on its head.
Despite its many colours, it always has six reddish-brown legs. It has black compound eyes. Its antennae are short, light-brown, and slightly thickened at the ends. Its neck shield usually covers the head and has white spots.
It is very small. It measures about one centimetre (a quarter of an inch) in length.
It is very widespread, initially from eastern Asia, but common in the Northern Hemisphere. It is often regarded as a pest, and considered to be one of the world’s most invasive insects.
It prefers woodlands, parks, and gardens where aphids live. It is more active in summer. It can fly. In winter, it lives under tree bark and rocks.
It often gathers in small or large groups.
When it is crushed, it emits a bad smell.
It is carnivorous, feeding on aphids and other small insects.
The female lays yellow eggs, which hatch into larvae (grubs). The larvae do not look like the adults. The larvae have six legs but no wings. It has an elongated black body with armour and tiny hair-like spines on its body.
As the larvae eat leaves and grow, they change into pupae. Inside each pupa, the larva becomes a beetle, and the adult emerges.
[Location of photographs: Paris, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM