Have you seen this invasive ladybird?

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The irish wildlife Trust (IWT) needs your help.

It is trying to build up reliable records of this invasive species of ladybird and wants to know if you’ve seen any of them.

Since the beginning of this year, the IWT had been asking the general public to submit records of ladybirds and said it has been delighted with the enthusiasm. The trust had asked for reports of sightings of the Harlequin ladybird, which eats other ladybird’s eggs, in April.

However it continues to evade them and records have been inconclusive.

The Harlequin causes problems in the natural environment as it has a wide dietary range and outcompetes native ladybirds for their main prey.

Harlequins can reproduce up to three generations per year whilst most other native ladybird species will only reproduce once.

These are the two most common colours that have been recorded.

The Harlequin is larger than most of our native species at 5-8mm. The red and black form as shown can be seen by the black ‘M’ on its head plate. They can be found on a wide range of habitats and on a wide range of plants. The larvae, see above, are quite distinctive with shiny spines and an oblong orange colour on its back.

“It is especially important for us to learn of any records in Dublin, Galway, Limerick or Waterford,” the trust said today. They are asking that, if you spot one of these insects, that you take a photo for verification and upload it to biology.ie or send it to iwtladybirdsurvey@gmail.com.

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