Myzia oblongoguttata (Linnaeus, 1758)
Striped Ladybird

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

COCCINELLIDAE Latreille, 1807

COCCINELLINAE Latreille, 1807

Myzia Mulsant, 1846

This very widespread species is locally common throughout much of the western Palaearctic region and extends east through Asia Minor, Russia and Kazakhstan to the far east of Russia, Korea and Japan, it is present in North Africa and on some of the Mediterranean islands and extends north into central Norway and Finland but is rather patchily distributed or absent from some areas of southeast Europe. In the UK it occurs throughout eastern and central England and much of Eastern Scotland north to Inverness, it is very local and generally rare in the West Country, Wales and most of Western Scotland and Ireland. The species occurs in coniferous and mixed forests and is almost always associated with Scots Pine, Pinus sylvestris L., although it sometimes occurs on larch (Larix Mill.) and, rarely, on birch (Betula L.) stands growing adjacent to conifer woodland, and on the continent it occurs on mountain pine (P. mugo Turra) at higher altitudes. Adults overwinter under bark and survive into June or July, by which time the next generation has appeared, they reproduce in the spring and females oviposit among pine foliage. Both adults and larvae are specialist predators of various Pine Aphids (and no doubt other species of Cinara Curtis, 1835, which includes almost 250 species of conifer aphids), these are often attended by ants and so both stages are more resistant to ant attacks than most ladybirds. Larvae develop through the spring and early summer, they pass through three instars, pupate early in the summer on the upper surface of pine needles, and new –generation adults appear from July. Larvae are very distinctive, fully grown they reach 12 mm, have long black legs and a pale grey body, the head is black and each thoracic segment has two large black spots, each abdominal segment has six round spots and these form longitudinal lines, all are black except for two lateral spots on the basal segment and a single lateral spot on segments 4 and 6 which are yellow, and most specimens have a variable yellow patch on the front of the thorax, the darker spots are roughened and slightly raised but there are no outstanding bristles or tubercles. Pupae are also distinctive although very difficult to spot among the foliage; it is globular, very pale grey or creamy with two rows of black spots, one entire and one abbreviated, and an oblique black line across each lateral margin, in most cases they are naked, the larval skin being shed before the pupa is fully formed. Adults are very difficult to find among the foliage but they are easily swept and usually occur in small numbers, they may also be swept in flight as they disperse and they occasionally come to light traps.

Myzia oblongoguttata 1

Myzia oblongoguttata 1

Myzia oblongoguttata 2

Myzia oblongoguttata 2

With the exception of the Eyed Ladybird this is our largest UK species, this large size coupled with the very distinctive markings make it unmistakable. 6-8 mm. Discontinuous in outline with a broadly-transverse pronotum and rounded elytra, glabrous and very finely punctured throughout. Head shiny black with a broad white patch between the eyes, pronotum brown along the centre, often a little darker than the elytra, and broadly white laterally, elytra brown with the margin and various longitudinal streaks or dorsal spots white. Legs and antennae chestnut brown.