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.

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

The underside is all dark.

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Upshire, North Essex
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Thundridge, Hertfordshire

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).

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With Red-flanked Ladybird
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With Epaulet Ladybird
Upshire, North 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.

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Ivy covered fence.  Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Ivy covered wall.  Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, South Essex
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Ivy covered tree trunk.    Holyfield Lake, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Ivy covered tree trunk    Marshgate Spring NR, Harlow, North Essex
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Ivy covered tree trunk.   Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Ivy covered tree trunk                                                            Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Ivy covered tree trunks       Rushy Mead, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Ivy covered wall       Epping, North Essex
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Ivy on edge of car park         Epping, North Essex
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Firethorn       Upshire, North 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.

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

Additional photographs

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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Greater Amwell, Hertfordshire
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Thundridge, Hertfordshire
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Epping, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Rushy Mead, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Abbey Gardens, Waltham Abbey, North Essex