Basic description of a harlequin ladybird:
• Size and shape :
large (7-8 mm or about 1/4 inch), round
• Elytra (wing
case) ground colour: pale yellow-orange, orange-red,
red or black; highly variable
• Elytra pattern:
0-21 orange-red or black spots, or grid pattern; highly
• Most common forms in UK : orange
with 15-21 black spots: black with two or four orange
or red spots
• Pronotum pattern:
white or cream with up to 5 spots or fused lateral spots
forming 2 curved lines, M-shaped mark or solid trapezoid
• Other characteristics: elytra
with wide keel at base; legs almost always brown
Distinguishing the harlequin ladybird from other British
its less than 5 mm (1/5 inch) in length, it is definitely not a
• If its red with precisely 7 black spots, it is a 7-spot ladybird.
• If it has white or cream spots, it is a striped ladybird,
an orange ladybird or a cream-spot ladybird.
• If it is large, burgundy coloured and has 15 black spots,
it is an eyed ladybird
• If it has an orange pronotum, and fine hairs all over
it is a bryony ladybird.
• If it is black with four or six red spots, two of which
are right at the front of the outside margin of the elytra,
it is a melanic form
of the 2-spot ladybird.