Bordered Ladybird  Scymnus limbatus

Other names: Willow Ladybird, Bordered Scymnus

This species is associated with willows and poplars in wetland habitats.

Whilst the habitat is well understood, this is a variable species and the identification criteria are rather confused. At present it seems the identification of specimens will be based on habitat and a process of ruling out other species.

The only one I have seen was found by Mark Hows at Pashford Poor Fen, Suffolk. This was in typical habitat. An area of tall waterside vegetation with willow trees in a fenland setting.

This individual was very similar to Conifer Ladybird but the main difference was the epipeuron (underside edge of the wingcase). This is black on Conifer but was brown on this individual.

This is a speculative identification based on very little published information and has not been verified.

Pashford Poors Fen, Suffolk
Pashford Poors Fen, Suffolk
Photo by Mark Hows
Pashford Poors Fen, Suffolk
Pale brown underside to pronotum and wingcases

Identification        Length  1.6-2.0mm

Many images of this species can be found on the internet, though many are of continental origin and care needs to be taken to check the credentials of each posted image.

There is a large variation ranging from dark to light forms.

The Finnish website www.leppikset.fi/lajit.html has examples of these variations.

DARK FORM

The darkest examples appear all black but often show a bronzy sheen to the wingcases.

MEDIUM FORM

The specimen illustrated by Richard Lewington in The Field Guide (2018) resembles Red-patched Ladybird with a bulging central line contrasting with reddish-brown wingcases.

It is not clear whether the red reaches the edge of the wingcases.

Some have a narrower dark central line (see photos above) and resemble Conifer Ladybird but have a brown epipleuron.

LIGHT FORM

These are distinctive. The wingcases resemble the above photos but they have a pale brown pronotum (section behind the head).

More published photos of UK specimens are needed.

Habitat

I named this species Willow Ladybird as it is found on or near willows and poplars in wetland habitats.

It is very elusive and there are few recent records.

Copyright Andrew Jewels 2019-2020