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24-spot Ladybird Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata

Among the lady birds only very few eat leaves and other plant parts. One of those species is this 24-spot Lady Bird. Measuring about 3 mm only this is one of the smallest species. It is the standard red-with-black-spots type, but it is very variable. The spots are always in the same place, but they may be very tiny dots, but also big black blobs melting into what appears to be just one spot. It is the most common of the vegetarian lady birds. It used to be an abundant species in the times clover was planted. For both adults and larvae adore this plant. In those days it was considered to be a serious pest. As clover is not being cultivated a lot anymore the 24-spotted Lady Bird often is a very local species nowadays. You can't play with this ladybird. It will run to your fingertops, but then it seldom flies away, for most specimens have no wings and are unable to fly. That is not the only reason this is a strange species. It is also less shiny than other lady birds, for it is completely covered with tiny hairs giving it a very dull appearance. Not uncommon all over Europe, including the British Isles, but often overlooked because of the size. Quite rare in the Netherlands though.

The scientific name is often abbriviated: Subcoccinella 24-punctata.