Round-keeled Ladybird  Rhyzobius chrysomeloides

Other names:  Cryptic Brown Ladybird,  Round-keeled Rhyzobius

This is the commonest ladybird in my recording area, occurring in pine trees, ivy and ornamental evergreen shrubs.

It is also the only species that I can find, almost at will, on any day of the year.

It occurs in every garden with ornamental shrubs that I have searched.

Identification          Length  2.5-3.5mm

Ground colour varies from deep chestnut to light oak with variable dark markings on the hind wingcases.

Varies from a few dark streakes to large dark patches and occasionally solidly dark.

A useful visual clue on the majority of specimens is a curved diagonal pale stripe on each front wingcase area, (epaulets). These combine to form a U-shape, which is visible to the naked eye.

The sides of the pronotum, (between the head and wingcases), is strongly curved, sometimes forming a right angle on the corner and the rear edges are often straight and nearly parallel sided.

Broxbourne, Herts
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Chingford, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Thundridge, Herts
Upshire, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Upshire, Essex
With 7-spot Ladybird
With Cream-spot Ladybird
Beaten from Ivy alongside Opilo mollis and Pogonocherus hispidus                             Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex

The prosternal keel (on the underside between the front pair of legs) is shaped like a narrow bell, rounded at the top and splaying out at the base.

Image taken with digital microscope
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex

Round-keeled Ladybird has a reputation for being difficult to identify and separate from the similar Pointed-keeled Ladybird. Whilst a few individuals show a confusing suite of characteristics, I believe the majority are quite easy to identify if all the different features are checked in combination.

If claiming a first County record, or a significant range extention, then it may be necessary to retain a specimen but in the species core range I am confident a good photograph is sufficient to identify the majority of individuals correctly. If over caution is used to prevent the claiming of Round-keeled Ladybird, we will never discover just how common this species is.

Habitat

Can be common in pine trees, in small copses or individual trees.

Plantation pine tree  Upshire, Essex
Garden pine tree  Upshire, Essex

It can also be common on ivy in woodland situations.

In the Lee Valley and around the northern edge of Epping Forest it can easily be found in winter by searching ivy growing on tree trunks.

Ivy.   Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Ivy.   Hall Marsh, Lee Valley, Essex
Ivy    Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Ivy.  Cornmill Tree Park, Lee Valley, Essex
Ivy   Hooks Marsh, Lee Valley, Essex
Ivy.  Waltham Abbey, Essex

Round-keeled Ladybirds can be abundant in gardens, both rural and urban.

It can be found on ivy covered fences and on a variety of evergreen shrubs, especially Euonymus, Viburnum tinus, Firethorn and Cotoneaster.

Euonymus.  Upshire, Essex
Euonymus.  Waltham Abbey, Essex
Euonymus hedge.   Abbey Gardens, Lee Valley, Essex

Firethorn.  Upshire, Essex

Oleaster Elaeagnus      Waltham Abbey, Essex
Can also be found in deciduous shrubs, including Weigela and Guelder-rose.
Weigela.   Upshire, Essex
Guelder-rose.  Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex

It can easily be found in garden wheelie bins that have been filled with the prunings from these shrubs.

Additional photographs

Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Hooks Marsh, Lee Valley, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Bowers Water, Lee Valley, Herts

Copyright Andrew Jewels 2019-2020