Red-headed Ladybird    Rhyzobius lophanthae

Other names:  Red-headed Rhyzobius     Plum-headed Ladybird

This species has spread rapidly in southern England and is associated with Leyland Cypress.

Identification         Length  2.0mm

Straightforward if seen well.

Black elytra (wing cases) have distinctive extra long bristles.

The head and pronotum are a brownish red or plum colour, as is the entire underside.

In bright sunshine the head and pronotum can appear a brighter orangey-red colour.

On some individuals, and in some dull lighting conditions, the plum colour is darker and at first glance they can resemble one of the all black Scymnus species.

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Typical plum-coloured front
           Upshire, North Essex
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Bright orangey-brown front
           Upshire, North Essex
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     Dark non contrasting front  Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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All orangey brown underside
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With Epaulet Ladybird
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With Forestier's Ladybird
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With 10-spot Ladybird
Upshire, North Essex

Habitat

Has a strong affinity with Leyland Cypress. I have often found them in garden wheelie bins which have been filled with prunings from Leyland Cypress hedges.

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Leyland Cypress hedge.  Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Leyland Cypress prunings containing six Red-headed Ladybirds

I have beaten Red-headed Ladybird from an Ivy covered fence but I quickly realised that this was located opposite a large Leyland Cypress hedge.

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Ivy opposite Leyland Cypress hedge    Waltham Abbey, North Essex

They sometimes also occur with Round-keeled, Red-flanked and Forestier's Ladybirds in garden wheelie bins containing mixed prunings of evergreen shrubs, although they are rarely common.

I have also beaten Red-headed Ladybird from Euonymus shrubs, ornamental Juniper and Yew. They are likely to occur occasionally in other evergreen garden shrubs, although are not as frequent in this habitat as the closely related Forestier's or Epaulet Ladybirds.

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Euonymus shrub        Upshire, North Essex
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Ornamental Juniper     Upshire, North Essex
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Yew        Upshire, North Essex

Additional photographs

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Swept from Heather by Mark Hows
             Chobham Common, Surrey
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Broxbourne, Hertfordshire
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Broxbourne, Hertfordshire
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Nazeing, North Essex
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Thundridge, Hertfordshire
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Thundridge, Hertfordshire
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Nazeing, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Waltham Abbey, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Beaten from Euonymus      Upshire, North Essex