As well as the welcome garden visitors I blogged about on Monday, I also spotted this unusual looking ladybird on my Knautia 'Red Ensign'. I thought it might be the dreaded harlequin ladybird, but was reassured to find a similar looking one in a downloadable ID guide; our native 2 spot ladybird also has a reversed red on black form.
However, Dave Kilbey on Twitter told me:
He went on to say:@Malvernmeet @KellyTunley @ChippenhamNow It is a harlequin (alas). Form conspicua. They can be quite variable in size.— Dave Kilbey (@kilbey252) July 13, 2015
The App is available for both android and iPhone versions and there's also an online form available for your observations if you don't have a smartphone. The Harlequin Ladybird Survey website is also a mine of useful information, as is its sister, the UK Ladybird Survey website.@Malvernmeet @KellyTunley @ChippenhamNow if you like your ladybirds we have an app to help ID and record them - http://t.co/8CtsPixYdD.— Dave Kilbey (@kilbey252) July 13, 2015
I've submitted my sighting and I'm comforting myself that the harlequin was snacking on its preferred food source, the abundant aphids on my Knautia. Now those aphids are gone, I'll keep a watchful eye out and hope it doesn't go after the native ladybirds in VP Gardens.
Dave is a useful person to know as he's involved in developing the Apps available from naturelocator. If - like me - you're interested in citizen science or the natural world, there's bound to be an App or two you'd like on their website.