The Harlequin Ladybird Survey
Harlequin ladybird elytra
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How to recognise the harlequin ladybird

The harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) is also known as the Multicoloured Asian Ladybird and the Halloween Ladybird. It has a very variable appearance, which can make it difficult to tell apart from our native ladybirds!

The descriptions below should help you, and there are lots of ladybird images for you to see at the bottom of the page.

Download the ladybird identification sheet to help you distinguish the harlequin ladybird from other native British ladybirds.

Basic description of a harlequin ladybird:
Colour plate showing the variety of possible appearances of H. axyridis

Size and shape : large (7-8 mm or about 1/4 inch), round

Elytra (wing case) ground colour: pale yellow-orange, orange-red, red or black; highly variable

Elytra pattern: 0-21 orange-red or black spots, or grid pattern; highly variable

• Most common forms in UK : orange with 15-21 black spots: black with two or four orange or red spots

Pronotum pattern: white or cream with up to 5 spots or fused lateral spots forming 2 curved lines, M-shaped mark or solid trapezoid

• Other characteristics: elytra with wide keel at base; legs almost always brown

Distinguishing the harlequin ladybird from other British species:

If its less than 5 mm (1/5 inch) in length, it is definitely not a harlequin ladybird.

If its red with precisely 7 black spots, it is a 7-spot ladybird.

If it has white or cream spots, it is a striped ladybird, an orange ladybird or a cream-spot ladybird.

If it is large, burgundy coloured and has 15 black spots, it is an eyed ladybird

If it has an orange pronotum, and fine hairs all over the elytra, it is a bryony ladybird.

If it is black with four or six red spots, two of which are right at the front of the outside margin of the elytra, it is a melanic form of the 2-spot ladybird.

Harlequin ladybird (H. axyridis) - some of the colour variants
H. axyridis succinea © Mike Majerus
H. axyridis succinea

H. axyridis spectabilis © Mike Majerus
H. axyridis spectabilis
H. axyridis conspicua © Gavin Hatt
H. axyridis conspicua

Harlequin larva
H. axyridis larva

Common native species which might cause confusion