Harlequin Ladybird (Harmonia axyridis f. conspicua)

I was about to treat my roses which were full of aphids, when I spotted this tiny ladybug (about 6mm long) on one of the branches. Unlike the ones you normally see around here, this one was black with red spots!

I have confirmed with that it is indeed a Harlequin, which is not native to the UK but arrived here first in 2004! Apparently it’s the most invasive ladybird on Earth and it’s spreading quite rapidly. There are 46 species of ladybird (Coccinellidae) resident in Britain and the recent arrival of the harlequin ladybird has the potential to jeopardise many of these.

Unfortunately once I started taking pictures it decided to play hide-and-seek with me and wouldn’t stand still! At least it let me take half a dozen pictures, most of them unsharp :-(, before it flew away… I thought this particular shot looked menacing enough :-)

Milton Keynes, UK, 21 July 2010

[Sony a350, Minolta Rokkor 50mm 1.7 (reversed), Cambron 2x converter, Minolta 5600HS flash diffused manual at 1/16, f:8, 1/125sec, ISO100, converted from RAW]


bug, ladybird, ladybug, macro

My grandfather was a serious amateur photographer in the ’20s and ’30s, leaving me a legacy of stereoscopic pictures and equipment. The bug passed through the genes to my father and to me. I started taking pictures seriously when I was 11 and I spent most of my teenage years in and out of the darkroom. University, work and kids put photography on pause but my first digital camera in 2006 re-kindled my interest. RB has given me a vehicle for sharing my work and for learning so much.

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  • Karen  Moore
    Karen Moorealmost 4 years ago

  • Thank you very much Karen :-)

    – George Parapadakis (monocotylidono)

  • Nathalie Chaput
    Nathalie Chaputalmost 4 years ago

    Awesome shot George!!

  • Thank you my dear friend!!! I doubly appreciate it as I know how much you hate bug close ups… LOL. I was starting to wonder if anyone actually saw this when I posted it! :-)

    – George Parapadakis (monocotylidono)

  • Virginia N. Fred
    Virginia N. Fredalmost 4 years ago


  • Wonderful! Thank you very much Gina :-)

    – George Parapadakis (monocotylidono)

  • Vikram Franklin
    Vikram Franklinalmost 4 years ago

    Brilliant shot George – composition in macro is difficult and this one is fantastic! Love how he’s playing peek-a-boo!

  • Thanks Vikram, It’s not as much of an eye-catcher as the full-on spots view, but it shows a bit more personality I guess! :-)

    – George Parapadakis (monocotylidono)

  • artwhiz47
    artwhiz47almost 4 years ago

    Great shot – I think he’s waving, or perhaps thumbing his nose…. Be that as it may, I’m intrigued, as usual. I have yet to see this red-on-black incarnation of H. axyridis, though the orangey ones are common here, having trounced our old-fashioned Seven-spot (Coccinella septempunctata), itself a long-ago import from Europe. I guess these Harlequins come in every color of the rainbow, so to speak.

  • Yes, apparently they do come in all sorts of colours Sheila. I hadn’t spotted one before either, but I do find this inverse colouring quite fascinating! I need to go out in the garden again and have a good look around. It’s fascinating, until a couple of weeks ago a ladybird was a ladybird was a ladybird :-) Now I know a bit more about them!

    – George Parapadakis (monocotylidono)

  • JanT
    JanTalmost 4 years ago

    What tourist or cargo ship brought this cute interloper in, George? Remarkable shots, but invasive species aren’t good for the diversity.

  • Too true! Thanks Jan :-)

    – George Parapadakis (monocotylidono)

  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkealmost 4 years ago

  • Thank you Ray :-)

    – George Parapadakis (monocotylidono)

  • Kim  Calvert
    Kim Calvertalmost 4 years ago

    Amazing close up!

  • Thanks Kim, I appreciate it! :-)

    – George Parapadakis (monocotylidono)

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