Forestier's Ladybird    Rhyzobius forestieri

Though first seen in Britain in 2014, this species was not included in the main section of The Fieldguide, Roy and Brown (2018).

After two unsuccessful trips to Abney Park, N. London, to search for this species, I found my first record in a garden wheelie bin in Nazeing, Essex on 16th August 2017. I then found another in a garden wheelie bin in Upshire, Essex, six days later.

This is now an abundant species in my recording area. I recorded it on 15 occasions in 2018 and 29 times in 2019.

Identification      Length  3.2mm

A large species, not much smaller than 22-spot Ladybird.

Black, with a covering of patchy white hairs, giving it a silvery hue.

The clubbed antennae are as long as the head width, with a characteristic bend midway resembling a metal coat hanger. 

Waltham Abbey, Essex
With 22-spot Ladybird
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex

A very distinctive feature is the red rear end on the underside.

This contrasts with the dark front sections.

In bright sunlight it appears a bright orangey red but in dull conditions it appears browner and duller. In all lighting conditions the underside of this species resembles a glowing ember.

Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex

The red rear end can sometimes be seen from above, protruding beyond the rear of the wing cases.

Upshire, Essex
With Cream-spot Ladybird
With Pine Ladybird
With Round-keeled Ladybird
Four with two Round-keeled Ladybirds
Forestiers Ladybird
On garden wheelie bin lid   Upshire, Essex

Newly emerged individuals that have not fully developed the dark pigments look very different, with orange wing cases and orange underparts.

Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Still developing dark pigment on front underside areas
                                                                   Upshire, Essex

Habitat

Overlaps with other adventive or established species (recent arrivals associated with man made habitats), especially Red-flanked and Round-keeled Ladybirds.

Can be easy to find by beating garden Euonymus shrubs and I have also found it in a garden wheelie bin containing prunings of Firethorn.

Euonymus.  Upshire, Essex
Euonymus.  Waltham Abbey, Essex
Euonymus.      Waltham Abbey, Essex
Firethorn.  Upshire, Essex
Firethorn prunings containing Forestier's Ladybird

I have also found it on Ivy covered tree trunks at Fishers Green, Essex and on Ivy and Holly in Epping Forest, Essex. Forestier's Ladybird can occur in deeply shaded woodland settings, where this species can be searched for on Holly and Ivy during winter.

Ivy covered tree trunk
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Ivy covered tree trunk
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Holly      Epping Forest, Essex

In July 2020 I found two in an oak tree at Fishers Green, having already beaten numerous Round-keeled Ladybirds from nearby oak trees.

I then found another, a month later, in an oak branch in Upshire, Essex on the edge of Epping Forest. 

Both branches were on the south facing edge of a hedge or copse.

I have also beaten Forestier's Ladybird from Field Maple.

Oak tree    July       Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Oak tree       August    Upshire, Essex
Field Maple     August       Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex

Additional photographs

Waltham Abbey, Essex
Waltham Abbey, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Upshire, Essex
Upshire, Essex

Copyright Andrew Jewels 2019-2020