Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata (Linnaeus, 1758)

22-spot Ladybird

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POLYPHAGA Emery, 1886

CUCUJOIDEA Latreille, 1802

COCCINELLIDAE Latreille, 1807

COCCINELLINAE Latreille, 1807

Psyllobora Chevrolat in Dejean, 1836

This ladybird occurs throughout Europe but the distribution is discontinuous; records are sparse in the south, towards the Mediterranean, but increase in frequency with latitude, becoming numerous in Czech and Slovak Republics, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and the U.K. In the U.K. it is common and widespread in England although much less so in the West Country and in Wales. There are scattered records from Ireland, most are from the northeast, and a very few from the east of Scotland.

Both adults and larvae are fungivorous and may be found searching plants for various species of mildew (Erysiphales) and moulds (Phycomycetes). The species may be found year round in generally open or boundary habitats; arable borders, grassland, parkland, wasteland, road verges and wooded borders etc. During the spring and summer they often frequent the leaves of hogweed (Heracleum sphondylum), ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) and creeping thistle (Cirsium arvense). They may also be beaten from the leaves of Oak (Quercus) and birch (Betula) in large numbers. They tend, however, to be present in swept samples from any appropriate habitat e.g. nettles and umbel flowers will generally produce adults in numbers. Adults overwinter at or near ground level, in grass tussocks, leaf litter and among matted vegetation generally but are active during mild spells; we have found them active beneath the leaves of Docks (Rumex) throughout the winter. Both the larva and pupa are of the same distinctive colouration as the adults.

2.6-4.5mm. The general appearance and colouration is distinctive and this species is unlikely to be confused with any other ladybird. The dark pattern hardly varies; there is only a small variation in the strength of the spots, and melanism is unknown. Round and highly arched. Usually bright yellow throughout, although this ground colour may occasionally be a little darker. Head with black markings at base and often also in front of eyes including the labrum. Finely and sparsely punctured and pubescent. Pronotum strongly transverse, broadest in front of base, and with five dark marks which vary little in extent. Glabrous and finely punctured, as elytra. Scutellum black. Each elytron with eleven dark marks although the lateral mark, which extends onto the epipleura, may be fused to the adjacent one. Appendages generally pale but this varies; the antennae and palps vary to entirely dark and the apical half of the femora and outer margin of all tibiae vary to black. The underside is extensively dark.

Larval characteristics:

-Ground colour yellow with the head dark brown

-Legs short; shorter than head width.

-Final abdominal segment not produced; either weakly angled or round.

-Suture on the head capsule rounded to an obtuse angle at top.

-Meso- and metathoracic segments each with a single seta-bearing protuberance low on side.

Psyllobora Chevrolat in Dejean, 1837

A genus of mostly Neotropical and Nearctic ladybirds including a single European species, Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata (Linnaeus, 1758). Six species occur in the U.S.A.: P. vigintimaculata (Say, 1824) is widespread, P. borealis Casey, 1899 from the western states, P. plagiata Schaeffer,1908 from the south, P. renifer Casey, 1899 from the south and Mexico, P. parvinotata Casey, 1899 is coastal and P. schwarzi Chapin, 1957 from Florida and the south. P. nana Mulsant, 1850 occurs along the Mexican borders. Seventeen species are know from Brazil, of which four have recently been added. All are specialist fungus feeders and several have been trialled as biological control agents e.g. P. bisucnotata Mulsant in the Sudan and P. rufosignata Mulsant, 1851 on Asian grapevine leaf rust fungus. They occur on a wide range of trees and herbaceous plants.

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