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.
- 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
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, at first, they were 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.
This species is native and widespread in the Palearctic up to the Arctic Circle.It is a common species in Europe,North Africa, Cyprus, European Russia, the Caucasus, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Transcaucasia, Kazakhstan, Western Asia, Pakistan, Mongolia, temperate China (Tarim Basin deciduous forests and steppe), Korea and Japan. It is adventive and widespread in North America (southeastern Canada to Great Lakes and Florida), and still spreading; however, repeated intentional releases have not resulted in established populations. It is significant to note the initial distribution to the United States for the purpose of acting as a controlling agent for the Russian wheat aphid (Hoebeke 2019).
These beetles live in many different habitats from lowlands to subalpine areas (Prealps), and can be found in Western European broadleaf forests and mixed forests and meadows and fields, forests, and in other Life zones of central Europe. Also in gardens and parks on grasses and herbaceous plants, in bushes, and trees. It is also found in forest litter, on brushwood, on coarse woody debris, in moss, in straw in sheds, in detritus and alluvial soil, in rotten plant residues and also in compost.
Propylea 14-punctata is entomophagous feeding on aphids, Aleyrodidae , Coccoidea, and on larvae and eggs of some beetles and butterflies A female lays about 400 eggs. This is necessary as there is often a high mortality among the larvae. The beetles overwinter twice.
- Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiæ: impensis direct. Laurentii Salvii. i–ii, 1–824 pp
- N. B. Nikitsky and А. S. Ukrainsky , 2016 The Ladybird Beetles (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) of Moscow Province ISSN 0013-8738, Entomological Review, 2016, Vol. 96, No. 6, pp. 710–735 ISSN 0013-8738 online pdf
- Fauna Europaea
- Hoebeke E.R., Wheeler A.G., 1996 Adventive lady beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in the Canadian Maritime Provinces, with new eastern US records of Harmonia quadripunctata. Entomological News 107: 281-290, 1996
- Koch, K., Die Käfer Mitteleuropas, Ökologie. Vol. 2 (Goecke und Evers Verlag, Krefeld, 1989).
- Dyadechko, N.P., The Coccinellidae of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, Kiev, 1954) [in Russian].
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- Poorani J. (2004) – Annotated Checklist of the Coccinellidae (Coleoptera) of the Indian Subregion
- Helgard Reichholf-Riehm: Insekten. Orbis, München 1984. ISBN 3-572-01088-8
- Harde, Severa: Der Kosmos Käferführer, Die mitteleuropäischen Käfer, Franckh-Kosmos Verlags-GmbH & Co, Stuttgart 2000, ISBN 3-440-06959-1
- Jiři Zahradnik, Irmgard Jung, Dieter Jung et al.: Käfer Mittel- und Nordwesteuropas. Parey, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-490-27118-1
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