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Fourteen Spot Ladybird Propylea quatuordecimpunctata

This is one of the few ladybirds showing square rather than round spots: the 14-spot Ladybird. This species is tremendously variable. Often one or more of the dots have merged. The basic colour of the dots may vary from white or deep yellow to black. The pattern of the black blob on the neck shield is variabel as well, but in almost all cases the basic colour is white and except for the big black blob there are no small dots to be found. Reaching 4 to 6 mm this is one of the bigger Lady Beetles. A common species in meadows and the edges of woods. The adult beetle may live up to two years!

In 1996 the 14-spot was discovered in a potato field in the USA. It is an invasion species over there and said to influence the native species negatively. The same is said of the Asian Lady Beetle, which has been found in many parts of Europe and was discovered in the USA in 1995. Anyway, the larva of the 14-spot Ladybird is quite an ugly thing. Still one recognizes the typical ladybird shape of this larva immediately. Like many other ladybird larvae it is very active, a good runner and mobile. The larva is used commercially to control the number of aphids on various plants.

The scientific name is also written as Propylea 14-punctata. In common English this species is also known as Fourteen Spot Lady Beetle or the 14-spot Ladybug.