Ivy Ladybird  Nephus quadrimaculatus

Other names:  4-spot Ladybird, Four-spotted Nephus

A common species that can be abundant on Ivy.

Identification     Length  1.5-2.0mm

Easy to identify, with very little variation.

A black species with four red comma shaped marks (two on each wing case).

The forward patches are larger than the rear ones.

Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Photo by Mark Hows
Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent

The underside is all dark.

Thundridge, Herts

Often occurs with Red-flanked Ladybird and both look similar to the naked eye.

The small rear spots can be difficult to see without magnification, (use an eye lens or digital camera).

With Red-flanked Ladybird
With Round-keeled Ladybird
ivy ladybird
Upshire, Essex

Habitat

Strongly associated with Ivy, though I have also found it on Firethorn, Pyracantha.

Like many inconspicuous ladybirds its distribution is patchy. I have beaten a lot of Ivy without seeing this species, but when found it can be abundant and often shows strong site fidelity.

My best site to see this species was in a garden I no longer have access to. This was on a south facing Ivy covered fence at the end of a medium sized suburban garden.

Ivy covered fence.  Waltham Abbey, Essex
Ivy covered wall.  Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Essex
Ivy covered tree trunk.    Holyfield Lake, Lee Valley, Essex
Ivy covered tree trunk.   Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Ivy covered wall       Epping, Essex

This seems to be a warmth loving species, as it favours a sunny aspect, so searching south facing walls and fences with a good covering of Ivy should prove productive.

Can be found by eye by careful searching
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Found by eye in community garden
Epping, Essex

Additional photographs

Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Greater Amwell, Herts
Thundridge, Herts
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Upshire, Essex

Copyright Andrew Jewels 2019-2020