7-spot Ladybird

7-spot Ladybird ©Rachel Scopes

7-spot Ladybird

7-spot Ladybird ©Dawn Monrose

7-spot Ladybird larva

7-spot Ladybird larva ©Amy Lewis

7-spot Ladybird

Scientific name: Coccinella septempunctata
One of our most common ladybirds, the black-on-red markings of the 7-spot Ladybird are very familiar. Ladybirds are beneficial insects, managing garden pests - encourage them by putting up a bug box.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 6-8mm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

March to October

About

The 7-spot Ladybird is 'the' ladybird that everyone is familiar with. A virtually ubiquitous inhabitant of gardens and parks, the 7-spot Ladybird will turn up anywhere there are aphids for it to feed on. Adults hibernate in hollow plant stems and cavities, sometimes clustering together in large numbers. The 7-spot Ladybird is also a migratory species: large numbers fly in from the continent every spring, boosting our native population. The lifecycle of a ladybird consists of four phases: the egg; the larval stage, during which the larva undergoes a series of moults; the pupa, in which the larva develops into an adult; and the adult phase, during which the female lays eggs in batches of up to 40.

How to identify

The 7-spot Ladybird is easily recognised by its red wing cases, dotted with a pattern of seven black spots; it also has a familiar black-and-white-patterned thorax.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The bright colours of ladybirds warn predators that they are distasteful, although some birds may still have a go at eating them. As well as their warning colouration, ladybirds also have another defence mechanism: when handled, they release a pungent, yellow substance from their joints (a form of 'controlled bleeding') that can stain the hands.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.