Harlequin ladybirds, larvae and pupae

Harlequin ladybird, larva

Harlequin ladybird larvae (juvenile stage) and pupae (undeergoing metamorphosis).

Harlequins originate in the far east of Asia. They were deliberately introduced into America to control aphids. Instead they rapidly became worse pests themselves.

They were also brought to Europe, including Britain, by human activity, not deliberately this time.

First recorded in Britain in 2005. When I first started this blog, in 2009, one of the conservation bodies had a system in place to report all sightings of these beetles, to aid efforts to control them.

It didn’t work. In my haphazard sightings this year, harlequins have outnumbered all native ladybirds several times over.

Young coots, growing fast, West Park

Young coots, growing fast, West Park

This year’s young coots, West Park. Now they’re growing fast. They’ve lost the red down above their beaks – the trigger for the adults to feed them. Instead, they are now (mostly) finding their own food, and swimming off on their own without being constantly watched by the parents.