Round-keeled and Pointed-keeled Ladybird Comparison

A tricky species pair but identifiable in the majority of cases.

Habitat : Round-keeled

Pine trees, ivy and evergreen garden shrubs.

Background Colour : Round-keeled

Oak brown to deep chestnut

Dark Markings : Round-keeled

Variable dark markings on the hind two thirds of the wingcases. Varies from a few streaks to large dark patches and sometimes solidly dark.

The majority show a curved diagonal pale stripe on each front wing case. These combine to form a U-shape.

Habitat : Pointed-keeled

Grassland, also nettles, thistles, edges of ponds, ditches and sometimes in gardens.

Background Colour : Pointed-keeled

Pale yellow to oak brown

Dark Markings : Pointed-keeled

Some lack any dark markings.

Others show a dark U-shape mark on the rear of the wingcases. Some show a few extra streaks but lack the pale U-shape on the top third of the wingcase as seen on Round-keeled.

Pronotum : Round-keeled

The sides are strongly curved, sometimes forming a right angle on the corner and the rear edges are often straight and nearly parallel sided.

Pronotum : Pointed-keeled

The sides are gently curved, often still widening as they reach the wingcases.

Prosternal keel : Round-keeled

Typically a very narrow bell-shape, rounded at the top and splayed out at the base, although often overlaps with Pointed-keeled.

Prosternal keel : Pointed-keeled

Typically shaped like a pointed narrow triangle, resembling 'The Shard', although often overlaps with Round-keeled.

If the above points are all born in mind, then most individuals can be identified without the need to collect a specimen.

This species pair is the equivelent of Rook and Carrion Crow in the birdwatching world.

Two species, both common in there core range, that can be easily confused by inexperienced observers. 

However, County Bird Reports would be much the poorer if only Rook and Carrion Crow records from known observers were included, in order to prevent a few stray records from entering the system.

Example

I found the following example by beating a Euronymus shrub in a garden in Upshire, Essex. The ground colour is quite pale and the dark semi-circle on the rear of the wing cases resembles Pointed-keeled Ladybird.

The pronotum has strongly curved corners and almost straight rear edges. There is also a hint of pale epaulets on the "shoulder" area of the wing cases. Both of these points favour Round-keeled Ladybird. 

The prosternal keel is a bit indistinct in the above photo but the mid-section appears to be parallel sided which is another feature suggesting Round-keeled Ladybird.

The Euonymus shrub that this specimen was in is surrounded by a gravel drive and therefore the habitat favours Round-keeled Ladybird and a second typically marked individual of this species was found with it.

Although on first sight this individual resembled Pointed-keeled Ladybird, I think the combination of habitat, prosternal keel, pronotum shape and pale epaulets suggest that this is a Round-keeled Ladybird, albeit not a typical one.

Copyright Andrew Jewels 2019-2020