Adult ladybirds are instantly recognisable – but what about their larvae? Ladybird larvae are useful inhabitants of our gardens and are frequently mistaken for other insect grubs.
Find out how to make a ladybird and lacewing lair.
Many ladybirds are celebrated for their aphid-eating prowess, but the larvae are also keen predators. Some also chew on the fungal hyphae of mildews.
Here are nine ladybird larvae to look out for.
Harlequin ladybird larvae (Harmonia axyridis)
Black and spiny, with strong orange, upside down L-shaped marks on each side and four small orange spots. It’s found on all plants, looking for aphids, but prefers lime and sycamore trees. 18mm long.
Orange ladybird larvae (Halyzia sedecimguttata)
A dirty cream colour, streaked with primrose yellow and marked with a regular display of black spots. It grazes on the mildew from leaves, especially those on sycamore trees. 15mm long.
22-spot ladybird larvae (Pysllobora vigintiduopunctata)
A bright lemon yellow and marked with a regular array of black spots that rarely join up; head and legs are black. Feeds on mildew on leaves and found among low-growing vegetation in grassy places, such as foxglove, hogweed and ragwort. 11m long.
Pine ladybird larvae (Exochomus quadripunctatus)
A dull, purplish grey with a pale black line, marked by grey smudges. Tail segments have a spiny crest. Found in broadleaf and pine trunks. Eats scale insects and woolly aphids. 7.5mm long.
Seven-spot ladybird larvae (Coccinella septempunctata)
Mid grey with a regular alignment of black bobbles. The first thoracic segment is a yellowish orange marked with black, while the first and fourth abdominal segments have two orange marks at the sides. Found on almost all plants, eating aphids. 13mm long.
Ten-spot ladybird larvae (Adalia decempunctata)
A pale grey, but marked with black, giving the effect of having marked tail segments. Has two orange spots at the sides of the first abdominal segment and a central orange spot on the fourth. A tree and hedgerow aphid predator. 8mm long.
Two-spot ladybird larvae (Adalia bipunctata)
Dark grey and marked with black nodules. More spotty-looking than the ten-spot. Has orange flecks at the sides of first abdominal segment and a central orange bar on the middle of the fourth abdomen segment. Likes urban gardens and eats aphids. 8mm long.
Adonis ladybird larvae (Hippodamia variegata)
Greyish brown. Has orange-marked thoracid segments the first abdominal segment marked orange at the sides. Mainly coastal, in warm, dry situation, but also seen in chalk pits, urban brownfield sites and derelict gardens. Eats aphids. 9mm long.
14-spot ladybird larvae (Propylea quattuordecimpunctata)
Dark grey and marked with creamy white, An aphid feeder, it is found in low vegetation in grassy places. 7.5mm long.
Many thanks to Chris Shields for providing the beautiful illustrations used in this feature.