Chilocorus renipustulatus (Scriba, 1791)
Kidney-spot Ladybird

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

COCCINELLIDAE Latreille, 1807

CHILOCORINAE Mulsant, 1846

Chilocorus Leach, 1815

This species is locally common from lowland to lower mountain altitudes throughout Europe from France to the Balkans and north to the UK and the Arctic Circle in Fennoscandia, it is absent from North Africa and the Middle East but has otherwise been recorded sporadically to the far east of Russia. There are many references in the literature citing it as established in North America but these appear to be in error; some members of the genus are native to the Nearctic region and at least four more have been introduced as biocontrol agents but these do not include the present species. In the UK it is locally common throughout England and Wales, there are a few scattered records from Scotland but it is so far absent from Ireland. Typical habitats are deciduous woodland and wooded parkland but they also occur on conifers in mixed woodland and may appear on suitable trees in a wide range of habitats through the spring and summer. Adults occur year-round, they overwinter under bark or among litter etc. at the base of trees and become active early in the year, often appearing on trunks warmed by the sun in February or March; they are common through the summer and peak in abundance during spring and autumn. Both adults are larvae predate a wide range of scale insects on various trees including Oaks, Beech, birches, willows, Alder, maples and various conifers but especially Ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.) and Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia L.), - on which they often congregate in early spring. Breeding occurs over a long season from early spring and freshly emerged adults have been observed from June until the autumn, there is a single generation each year although individuals may mate twice as old and new generation specimens have been observed mating, in warmer southern parts of Europe and Russia there is a second generation in the summer but this has not been observed in northern Europe. Females lay small batches of pale yellow eggs on the underside of leaves from April into the summer and larvae emerge after a few days, they feed upon the remains of the egg and soon afterwards roam the foliage in search of scale insects, their specialist prey although they have also been observed taking aphids. The larvae are very distinctive; pale to dark brown with the head and legs black, and each thoracic and abdominal segment has six long branched black spikes which form rows along the body. The pupa is pale red when first formed but soon turns shiny black, it is readily identified by the cast larval skin which splits along the dorsal surface and remains wrapped around the lower part of the pupa, these often form in loose groups on the underside of leaves or on stems. Adults emerge between a week and two weeks after pupation, they are pale orange or brown but develop their mature colours within hours of emergence. Adults will occur when sweeping foliage of all kinds; they mostly occur on trees but they fly well and during the warmer months will also be found on a range of herbaceous plants, but they are often conspicuous and easily found by searching trunks and foliage, in the spring they occasionally swarm and may occur in large numbers on evergreen shrubs.

Chilocoris renipustulatus 1

Chilocoris renipustulatus 1

Chilocoris renipustulatus 2

Chilocoris renipustulatus 2

© U.Schmidt

Chilocoris renipustulatus 3

Chilocoris renipustulatus 3

© Lech Borowiec

4.0-5.0 mm. The general form and colouration make this species absolutely distinctive among our fauna, some variations of the Harlequin Ladybird are superficially similar but here the pronotum is bicoloured whereas in the present species it is entirely black. Body convex and almost round, glabrous and entirely shiny black but for a single transverse-elongate red spot on each elytron, abdomen orange, contrasting with the rest of the ventral surface which is black, legs and antennae dark brown. Anterior clypeal margin distinctly bordered, pronotum narrower than the width of the elytral base, elytral margin strongly explanate throughout.