Propylea quatuordecimpunctata

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14-spotted Ladybird
14-spot ladybirds (Propylea quatuordecimpunctata) mating 1.jpg
Mating in Oxfordshire
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Coccinellidae
Genus: Propylea
Species: Propylea quatuordecimpunctata
Binomial name
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Synonyms
  • Coccinella 14-punctata Linnaeus, 1758
  • Halyzia (Propylaea) 14-punctata (Linnaeus)
  • Propylea 14-punctata (Linnaeus, 1758

The 14-spotted Ladybird (Propylea quatuordecimpunctata) is a small lady beetle, belonging to the family Coccinellidae. It is sometimes referred to by the common name 14-spotted ladybird beetle, or simply P-14.

Description[edit]

The beetles are 3.5 to 4.5 millimeters long and have an uncommon variety of forms. There are well over 100 different color and pattern variations. Some differ to the extent that they are first considered separate species.

The background color ranges from cream through yellow to light orange, but not red. Usually they have 14 black, almost rectangular spots on the elytra, but only rarely there are 14 separate spots. Most commonly, several of the spots fuse into larger markings, particularly along the midline, where they often create a shape resembling an anchor, sometimes fusing to such an extent that the yellow disappears almost completely as to render the body almost entirely black except for 12 pale yellow spots.

The pronotum is whitish or pale yellow, with four to eight black spots. The antennae and legs are yellowish brown.

Distribution[edit]

This species is native and widespread in the Old World, where it can be found from the southern countries up to the Arctic Circle and in Asia. It is invasive in North America.

Habitat[edit]

These beetles live from lowlands to the subalpine areas, and can be found on deciduous trees and herbaceous plants in meadows and fields, forests, gardens and parks.

Cycle of life[edit]

A female lays about 400 eggs. This is necessary as there is often a high mortality among the larvae. The beetles overwinter twice.

Subspecies[edit]

  • Propylea quatuordecimpunctata var. suturalis Weise, 1879
  • Propylea quatuordecimpunctata var. weisei Mader, 1931
  • Propylea quatuordecimpunctata var. pedemontana Della Beffa, 1913
  • Propylea quatuordecimpunctata var. frivaldskyi Sajo, 1882
  • Propylea quatuordecimpunctata var. pannonica Sajo, 1882
  • Propylea quatuordecimpunctata var. moravica Walter, 1882
  • Propylea quatuordecimpunctata var. perlata Weise, 1879

References[edit]