Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Water Ladybird

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

COCCINELLIDAE Latreille, 1807

COCCINELLINAE Latreille, 1807

Anisosticta Dejean, 1836 

A widespread species occurring throughout Europe north to Norway, Sweden and Finland. It is the only species of the genus found in the U.K. It is widespread and common across England and Wales north to the Scottish borders including Anglesey and the Isle of Wight but not on Man. A species of wetland vegetation, very dependent upon and localized by this habitat; reservoirs, lakes, ponds, river margins and salt marshes. Adults occur from late March, depending on season, and remain common until late summer. They overwinter in stems of Reed mace (Typha) or Reeds (Phragmites) and can often be found under matted leaves at the base of the stems. Also among leaf litter, tussocks or under debris in appropriate situations. On warm days from early spring they may be seen on flowers, especially umbels. Both larvae and adults feed on aphids and other soft insects. Full grown-fourth instar-larvae are a common sight in late May and June. The very broad and convex pupae, beige with extensive dark markings, may be found on stems, sometimes inside, and leaves during June and July. Fresh adults are brightly coloured but this fades later in the year to buff or light broom. Overwintered adults display the bright colouration.

Typically coloured forms are immediately recognizable but the strength of the spots varies and they are sometimes fused so that specimens may look very much darker. With a little experience the overall appearance will become obvious irrespective of the size or fusion of the spots or the strength of the ground colour. There is no fully melanic form.

3-5mm. Elongate- oval, with the elytra weakly dilated towards the rear. Upper surface glabrous. Head yellow, darkened between and behind the eyes, finely punctured and microsculptured. Eyes notched on front margin behind antennal insertion. Antennae almost as long as width of head, with a three segmented, gradual club. Terminal segment truncate. Mandibles bidentate at apex. Pronotum transverse, broadest at middle and with evenly rounded sides. Side margins finely raised. Front angles acute and strongly produced forward. Hind margin strongly sinuate and produced backwards for middle half. Evenly and quite strongly punctured and microsculptured.  With six black marks which may

be variously fused. Elytra punctured a little more strongly than pronotum. Each with nine black marks plus one common to both at the scutellum.  Underside mostly black; prosternal and elytral epipleura, front margin of prosternum and lateral margins of abdominal segments yellow.  Finely pubescent throughout. Metasternum obtusely angled between hind coxae. Front margin of the first sternite bordered. Coxae black, legs otherwise yellow. Basal segments of tarsi strongly lobed. Terminal segment long and gradually expanded to apex. Claws dark, smooth and very weakly toothed at apex.

Larval Characteristics

-Ground colour brownish with the head and a large mark on each side of the thoracic segments dark.

-Tubercles on abdomen all the same dark colour.

-Terminal abdominal segment smoothly rounded or weakly angled; not produced.

-Suture on front of head capsule smoothly rounded at sides and obliquely angled at top.

-Meso- and metathoracic segments each with a single seta bearing protuberance low down on lateral margin.

Anisosticta Dejean, 1836

A genus of four Palaearctic and Neactic species typically occurring in wetlands.

Anisosticta bitrangularis (Say, 1824.) Occurs across Canada from Labrador to Western Alaska and south to Mexico.

Anisosticta borealis Timberlake, 1943. N.W. Canada and Alaska.

Anisosticta novemdecimpunctata (Linnaeus, 1758) Palaearctic, including the U.K.

Anisosticta strigata (Thunberg, 1795). Northern Europe and east to Siberia.

Similar species
Propylea quattuordecimpuntata
  • More rounded shape.

  • Elytral markings distinctive, with between 4-14 spots.

  • Femora darkened.

Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata
  • More rounded shape.

  • Elytra always bright yellow.

  • Elytral markings distinctive, with 20-22 discrete black spots.

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