24-spot ladybird

Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata

''Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata'' is a beetle in the family Coccinellidae. It is the only member of the genus ''Subcoccinella''. It has the typical, almost semi-spherical, ladybird shape and is patterned with spots. However it differs from many of the well-known ladybirds in being neither smooth and shiny nor an eater of aphids: the wing-cases look velvety and it eats fungal moulds on plants.
Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata - eating One of the few European ladybird-beetles that actually eats plants as opposed to the usual diet of aphids and the like. This one is happily munching away at "Red Campion" (Silene dioica).
(Unsharp) detail of jaws attacking the plant surface:
https://www.jungledragon.com/image/49851/subcoccinella_vigintiquatuorpunctata_-_eating_red_campion.html 24-spot Ladybird,Coccinellidae,Coleoptera,Epilachninae,Subcoccinella,Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata,nl: Vierentwintigstippelig lieveheersbeestje

Appearance

The adult 24-spot is a small ladybird, usually 3 to 4 mm long. It has the quintessential ladybird shape, quite domed with the sides forming a smooth curve from head to pronotum to wing-cases.

The wing-cases are covered with short pale hairs, and though these are hard to see without a hand lens, they give the ladybird a distinctive matt appearance. The ladybird is dark orange, including legs and antennae. There are black spots on the wing cases. These vary in number and size but there are often about 20 to 24 and usually no more than 26. Sometimes spots are joined together or they can be absent completely. Dark forms are very rare. Another extremely rare form has yellow spots.

Larvae are 4 to 6mm long and pale grey-green with darker speckles. They are covered with branched spines. These spines are also present in the pupa, enabling the pupa to secrete noxious alkaloids as a defence against predators.

There are five European species in the subfamily Epilachninae, all herbivorous and somewhat hairy. The 24-spot Ladybird can be distinguished from the similarly patterned Bryony Ladybird - ''Henosepilachna argus'' by its small size. ''Cynegetis impunctata'', another small ladybird, is browner and has no spots. It also has a black head and this separates it from the form of the 24-spot Ladybird without spots.

This ladybird usually has no wings under the elytra and these individuals are unable to fly. A study found no winged specimens in a UK sample whereas 40% of those from Hungary and Romania had wings. However, as even the winged specimens carried the gene that causes atrophy, it is thought that winglessness is a trend that will increase.
Larva of the 24-spot Ladybird  (Subcoccinella vigintiquattuorpunctata) Possibly my toughest subject from 2020 to photograph and video, given the almost imperceptible size of the Larva, the difficulty of getting a clear view in the grass without disturbing it, and a blustery wind making reasonable focus hugely difficult to maintain.

However, we got there eventually and to see this little thing (that's a blade of grass) go about its business made it worth it:

See and read about it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvaskL-_Cws 24-spot ladybird,Geotagged,Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata,United Kingdom

Distribution

This ladybird is an Old World species occurring across Europe, North Africa, European Russia, the Caucasus, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Transcaucasia, Kazakhstan, Middle Asia, Western Asia, Afghanistan, Mongolia, China, North and South Korea. It was introduced into North America some time last century with the first records from Pennsylvania in 1972. In Britain it is more common in the south.
Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata Just adding the species for my "Alerdinck" collection :o) 24-spot Ladybird,Alerdinck,Coccinellidae,Coleoptera,Epilachninae,Geotagged,Netherlands,Subcoccinella,Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata,Twenty-four Spot Ladybird,nl: Vierentwintigstippelig lieveheersbeestje

Behavior

Adults can be found from late Spring until the Autumn. They appear commonly on flowers, especially Apiaceae. Eggs are laid in May and larvae develop in about six weeks. New generation adults usually are active until October or November.

Larvae feed only on the mycelium of Erysiphales Also on these fungi on Poaceae, ''Astragalus'' and some species of the families Fabaceae and Boraginaceae) The insects carry spores of the fungi.
Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata - Mugshot Just adding the species for my "Alerdinck" collection :o) 24-spot Ladybird,Alerdinck,Coccinellidae,Coleoptera,Epilachninae,Geotagged,Netherlands,Subcoccinella,Subcoccinella vigintiquatuorpunctata,Twenty-four Spot Ladybird,nl: Vierentwintigstippelig lieveheersbeestje

Habitat

''S. vigintiquatuorpunctata'' is found in many different habitats .

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderColeoptera
FamilyCoccinellidae
GenusSubcoccinella
SpeciesS. vigintiquatuorpunctata