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Angle-spot Ladybird     Scymnus frontalis

Other names: Angle-spotted Ladybird, Angle-spotted Scymnus

This is an occasionally common species of semi-natural grassland, best found with a sweep net.

STOP PRESS:  In 2023 Maria Justamond and David W Williams critically examined specimens of both Angle-spot and Schmidt's Ladybirds and cast doubt on the field identification of both species.

On the European continent both Angle-spot and Schmidt's Ladybirds are part of the Scymnus frontalis species complex of about ten species that can only be identified by dissection of the male genitalia. 

I had already suspected that Schmidt's could occur in a spotted form in the UK, as is common in Europe. However, I had thought that other features such as size and wing case puncture pattern could provide supporting evidence.

Maria and David have found all field characteristics to be unreliable, with both species having some overlap in number or absence of spots, overall size and strength or absence of lines of elytral punctuation.

Therefore in the absence of specimens for dissection, all field records may need to be submitted as a species pair.

For general recording Angle-spot should be referred to as Scymnus cf frontalis and Schmidt's as Scymus cf schmidti.

More museum work is needed to find out if there is such a thing as typical Angle-spot and typical Schmidt's, with a few exceptions or if Angle-spot type and Schmidt's type is just a convenient convention for field work.

I have currently left the pages on this website as they were for both Angle-spot and Schmidt's Ladybirds; these now refer to what was considered to be typical of each species before this new information.

Identification          Length  2.6-3.2mm

This is a black species with a red spot on the front of each wingcase. The red spots are angled towards the outer edge but do not reach the edge, unlike on Red-flanked Ladybird.

Angle-spot is a large and elongate species compared to similar inconspicuous species.

A distinctive feature is seen on the underside, the metasternum has a groove along the middle, a feature only shared with Schmidt's Ladybird.

Fen Drayton, Cambs
Fen Drayton, Cambs
Groove along centre of metasternum
Filsham Reedbeds, Sussex
Filsham Reedbeds, Sussex
Filsham Reedbed, Sussex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex

Angle-spot Ladybirds either have black or red faces. 

On some photographs a few appear to have white faces and these could be confused with Ant-nest Ladybird. These are probably black faced individuals, with the white hairs catching the light.

Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
little belhus cp-WA0000.jpg
Photo by Mark Hows
Little Belhus Country Park, Essex

Mixed Photographs

With 16-spot Ladybird
With 16-spots and a Meadow Ladybird
In sweep net sorting tray
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex


Although this is often reported to be a common species I was unable to find it in my recording area until 2020. I realised that this was due to my area consisting of gardens, brown field sites and semi-natural grassland on clay soils.

The trick to finding this species is to search grasslands on chalk or sandy soils, including downland, sand dunes and coastal grassland. Mark Hows regually finds this species in The Brecks.

When I finally found some in the Lee Valley, they were in a small patch of habitat that also contained Red-rumped and Red-patched Ladybirds. They were in a dried up damp flush in an area of dry sparse grassland on a sandy soil. I had previously overlooked this area as unpromising.

Photo by Mark Hows
Ramparts Field, The Brecks, Suffolk
Dried up damp flush in area of dry sandy soil
                    Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex

Additional photographs

Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
Fishers Green, Lee Valley, Essex
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