Red-patched Ladybird  Nephus redtenbacheri

Other name: Red-patched Nephus

This species can be locally common in a variety of natural habitats, including sand dunes, grassland and heathland.

I have only seen one, in a garden wheelie bin in Nazeing, Essex and it is not common in my recording area but Mark Hows finds it regularly in The Brecks.

Identification        Length  1.3-2.3mm

This is a black species with a large reddish patch on each wingcase.

These often curve around to nearly meet at the rear. Viewed together from above these patches often resemble a horse-yolk or can be shield shaped.

Individually they are often kidney shaped.

The Sea-lavender Ladybird is visually identical but is strongly associated with Sea-lavender, although this habitat could occur closely with the coastal grassland that Red-patched Ladybird might inhabit.

Some Bordered Ladybirds can be very similar, habitat differences can again be a useful clue, with this species occuring in willows and poplars in wetland habitats.

Nazeing, Essex
Photo by Mark Hows
The Brecks
Photo by Mark Hows
The Brecks
Photo by mark Hows
The Brecks

Habitat

Unusually for an inconspicuous ladybird this species is a habitat generalist but it is most easily found in open habitats including coastal grassland, heathland and sand dunes. 

In The Brecks it can be found in the grassy areas amongst small scattered pine trees as well as actually in the pine trees.

As a habitat generalist this species is likely to occur in gardens, although I have only seen it once in my recording area. On 3rd August 2017 I was pruning ornamental shrubs in Nazeing, Essex. I was finding many Red-flanked Ladybirds exiting the wheelie bin containing the prunings. As I was being paid to garden and not watch ladybirds I photographed a few examples as quickly as possible, including what I thought was the pale form of Red-flanked. Looking through the images on the camera a few hours later I discovered that I had in fact photographed a Red-patched Ladybird. It does not pay to get complacent when recording inconspicuous ladybirds, concentration is required at all times.

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Copyright Andrew Jewels 2019-2020