Dot Ladybird  Stethorus pusillus

This species has a reputation for being difficult to find but I have been seeing it regularly in my recording area for a few years now. 

I have one reliable site, a sheltered ride with small oaks in mixed hedgerows . Otherwise it is a species that I stumble across unexpectedly in different locations.

I find it in garden wheelie bins, but also by beating evergreen garden shrubs and deciduous trees in the wider countyside.

In late September and early October of 2022 this species was more abundant than I had ever seen it before with almost daily records, including double figures on some days.

Identification      Length  1.3-1.5mm

Very tiny, so easy to overlook, but once known it is quite distinctive.

One of several all black species with yellow legs. Sometimes the top part of the legs are black but at least some of the lower leg is yellowish-brown, often paler than the reddish-brown of similar species.

Its extreme small size is immediately obvious, its length is equal to the width of most other inconspicuous ladybirds.

Pale hairs on the elytra run parallel with the central line and often catch the light along the sides or form a silvery patch halfway along.

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Nazeing, Essex
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Chingford, Essex
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Exeter, Devon
Exeter, Devon
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Dobbs Wier, Lee Valley, Essex
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Nazeing, Essex
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Nazeing, Essex
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Waltham Abbey, Essex
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Nazeing, Essex
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Waltham Abbey, Essex
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Sawbridgeworth, Herts
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All dark underside
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With Red-headed Ladybird
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With Red-flanked Ladybird
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With Epaulet Ladybird
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With 7-spot Ladybird
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With one pence coin
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A tiny dot on my hand!
Beaten from ornamental pine tree
Upshire, Essex

Habitat

Unpredictable. Occurs in gardens but can also be found in the wider countryside.

I have found up to ten at a time in garden wheelie bins containing Daylily, Hemerocallis, that I had cut back in September, when it had gone over.

In September 2022 I found up to 14 on a wheelie bin lid containing windblown poplar leaves and branches.

I also find them in wheelie bins containing mixed prunings from evergreen shrubs, although it is not always possible to know which plant species it was associated with.

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On lid of garden wheelie bin
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Mixed prunings containing Dot Ladybird
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Storm blown poplar leaves with abundant Dot Ladybirds
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Unobtrusively sitting on wheelie bin handle 

In gardens I have beaten it from Viburnum tinus, Privet and Larch.

I have twice found it in an Exeter garden, Devon, on Buddleja and Portugal Laurel.

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Privet hedge     Waltham Abbey, Essex
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Buddleja shrub with ivy       Exeter, Devon
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Portugal Laurel     Exeter, Devon

I have also beaten Dot Ladybird from deciduous trees in the wider countryside, including Crack Willow, Hazel and Oak. I have beaten them from oaks on several occasions, occasionally alongside Oak Ladybird.

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Small oak in hedgerow amongst willows
       Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Essex
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     Small oak on edge of sunny ride
Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Essex
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Small oak tree      Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Essex
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Small oak tree       Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Essex
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Sheltered sunny ride: a fairly reliable location
                Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Essex
Dot ladybirds can be found in Ivy alongside many other ladybird species.
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Ivy covered tree trunk    Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex

I have also beaten Dot Ladybird from larch and pine trees in mature gardens.

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Ornamental pine tree
           Upshire, Essex

Additional Photographs

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With Round-keeled Ladybird
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Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Essex
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Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Essex
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Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Essex
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Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, South Essex
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Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Sewardstone, South Essex
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Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Sewardstone, South Essex
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Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Sewardstone, South Essex
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Gunpowder Park, Lee Valley, Sewardstone, South 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, Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Fishers Green, Lee Valley, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex
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Upshire, North Essex