Red Marsh Ladybird       Coccidula rufa

A common species of wetland habitats.

Identification             Length 2.5-3.0mm

A deep red colour, lacking the orange tones of Spotted Marsh Ladybird.

Mostly plain with dark smudgy markings on the forward end of wing cases.

The antennae are long (wider than the head) and the sides of the pronotum (between the head and wing cases) are strongly curved and bulge outwards.

The outer edges of the wing cases are straight, forming a parallel sided mid-section.

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Clayton Hill, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Filsham Reedbeds, East Sussex
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Cornmill Meadows, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Pevensey Levels, East Sussex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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With Water Ladybird
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With Water Ladybird
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With 16-spot Ladybird
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With Spotted Marsh Ladybird
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Pevensey Levels, East Sussex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex

Habitat

Occurs in wetland habitats, often amongst dense rushes.

Difficult to find by eye, due to dense habitat, but can be easy to find with a sweep net.

Sometimes on dryer edges of habitat away from open water.

Can occur on small wildlife ponds as well as extensive reedbed reserves.

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Wildlife Pond
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Rushy Pond Edge
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Damp grassland
Doleman Ditch, East Sussex
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Semi-dry moat with sedges     Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Grassy bank of wildlife pond            Upshire, North Essex
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                     Densely vegetated damp ditch 
Cornmill Meadows, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Dried up pond with grasses, rushes and sedges
            Hayes Hill Farm, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Dense pond-side vegetation with rushes and sedges.
Cornmill Meadows, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Slightly damp hollow in area of dry grassland
          Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Lakeside brambles and nettles
Holyfield Lake, Lee Valley, North Essex

Some observers find this species in winter by searching reed stems. I have not tried this but found my first winter specimen in January 2022 by sweep netting the edge of a pond in a known location.

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  Wintering site              Historical Carp Ponds    Cornmill Meadows, Lee Valley, North Essex

Look-alike Species

I occasionally find other beetle species that resemble Red Marsh Ladybird on first glance.

The one shown below was the same colour and size.

On close inspection, the large clubs on the end of the antennae and the shape of the outer edge of the pronotum (gently curved without a bulge in the centre) ruled out Red Marsh Ladybird.

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Unidentified look-alike beetle species
Swept from damp grass   Fishers Green, North Essex

Additional Photographs

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Cornmill Meadows, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Cornmill Meadows, 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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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Holyfield Lake, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Two Mile Bottom, The Brecks, West Norfolk