Black specimens with red front

This group includes the males of five Scymnus species:

Red-rumped, Oak, Heath, Schmidt's and Dusky Ladybirds. 

Red-rumped Ladybird

This is the easy one in the group, as the rear edge of the each wingcase is infused with a browny-red patch. It is an elongate and relatively large species.

This is an elusive species of wet habitats, although it also spreads out into drier areas.

Reddish rear wingcases

Oak Ladybird

This is a small and rounded species. The wingcases are all dark but the red abdomen tip is usually visible extending beyond the wingcases. This feature is clearly visible if the underside is examined.

Strongly associated with oak trees.

Visible red abdomen tip
Red abdomen tip

Heath Ladybird

All dark with an orangy-red face and narrow leading edge to the pronotum. This combination is shared with the majority of Schmidt's Ladybirds, (a few Schmidt's can have two or four red spots, though this is more likely in continental specimens).

Heath Ladybird lacks a groove along the centre of the metasternum (on the underside between the middle and rear legs).

A species of grass and heathland vegetation on dry sites, including sandy and chalky soils.

Schmidt's Ladybird

The majority are unspotted, so resemble Heath Ladybird, all dark with an orangy-red face and narrow leading edge to the pronotum, (section behind the head).

The diagnostic feature is a groove along the centre of the metasternum.

Another feature is the presence of strong punctures on the wingcases forming lines resembling striae.

This is a grassland species associated with moss and is very elusive.

Dusky Ladybird

This species is similar to Heath and Schmidt's Ladybird, except that the orangy-red colour on the pronotum is more extensive. On many, most of the pronotum is red with a small black patch of black, a semi-circle or triangle, on the rear.

There is no groove along the centre of the metasternum.

This under recorded species occurs in the London area, and seems to favour dry vegetation in man-made environments.

An individual showing the above features and found in the right habitat, is tickable as far as I am concerned but would possibly not be considered a reliable record without a verified specimen.

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Copyright Andrew Jewels 2019-2020