If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

03 April, 2010

7-spot Ladybird (Coccinella 7-punctata)

Out in the garden you will be starting to encounter the familiar ladybird. The insects you find now will have hibernated over winter in a garden shed or somewhere safe and are now out and about feeding up and preparing to breed.

There are actually 45 species in this family but the bright red and black 7-spot is the most familiar although the 2-spot is similar and also common.

Ladybirds are to be encouraged in the garden as they, and their larvae, consume vast numbers of greenfly and other 'pests'. The new ladybird on the block, however, the Harlequin, is less welcome and threatens to the future of our own native species.

The bright colours are a warning to birds that they have an exceedingly unpleasant taste. They also exude drops of pungent, staining blood when handled which smells for quite a while afterwards.

"Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home, your house is on fire and your children are gone ..."