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.

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 wingcases.

Upshire, Essex
With Pine Ladybird
With Round-keeled Ladybird

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
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. Can occur in deeply shaded woodland settings, where this species can be searched for on Holly and Ivy during winter.

Holly.  Epping Forest, Essex

Copyright Andrew Jewels 2019-2020