AppearanceThe Cream-spot Ladybird measures 4 to 5.5 millimetres long and 3.2 to 4.5 millimetres broad. It is very variable in colouration in North America. In Europe the species is consistently maroon-brown with fourteen cream-coloured spots, but in North America and parts of eastern temperate Asia it occurs in several other colour forms. It may be black with white spots , or anywhere from yellow to pink with 18 large blotches. An excessively melanistic version exists that is all black with a large red-orange patch on each elytron. It always has a glossy pronotum and the underside of the beetle has a thin red rim to the otherwise black abdominal segments.
The larvae are black with white markings, have six legs and several blunt conical spines on each segment of the abdomen, similar to larvae of Cycloneda but with shorter legs.
DistributionThe Cream-spot Ladybird has a holarctic distribution. In North America the range extends from Alaska and Labrador south to California and New Jersey. where it is introduced. The Palearctic range is Europe, North Africa, Cyprus, European Russia, the Caucasus, Siberia, the Russian Far East, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Transcaucasia, Kazakhstan, Western Asia, Pakistan, Mongolia, China, and Japan. It is present throughout Britain and Ireland though more common in England than further west and north.
HabitatThe species occurs in a wide variety of habitats - deciduous and mixed forests for instance in Western European broadleaf forests , in ruderal areas, in parks, gardens, and meadows on grasses, bushes, and trees. It is also found in forest litter, on brushwood, in moss, in coarse woody debris and compost It is entomophagous feeding on aphids, Aleyrodidae, coccids, Coccoideaand on larvae and eggs of some beetles and butterflies.
In a study it was found that their preferred prey aphids included the aspen leaf aphid ''Chaitophorus tremulae'', the angelica aphid ''Cavariella konoi'', the small willow aphid ''Aphis farinosa'', the lime-tree aphid ''Eucallipterus tiliae'', the birch aphid ''Euceraphis betulae'' and the mugwort aphid ''Macrosiphoniella artemisiae''. They overwinter in leaf litter, crevices in the bark of trees and other similar protective locations.
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