Adalia bipunctata (L.)

2-spot ladybird - melanistic
© Roy Anderson
2 Spot ladybird
© Roy Anderson

Click on all images to enlarge
2 Spot ladybird © Mike Majerus
© Mike Majerus*
2 Spot ladybirds © Mike Majerus
© Mike Majerus*
2 Spot ladybirds © Mike Majerus
© Mike Majerus*
 

Distribution

Britain:

Throughout, to the far north of Scotland (Majerus et al. (1997)) but becoming less common northwards.

Ireland:

Historically only in the extreme south. Johnson & Halbert (1902) in their list of the beetles of Ireland give a single record for Waterford (coll. A. Neale).  Bonaparte-Wyse (Phillips 1924) took it sparingly in the Kilbarry marshes south of Waterford and Phillips (1924) reported it in abundance from his garden near Midleton, East Cork. 
Anderson (1990) gives an account of its recent appearance in northern counties including records for Greenmount Co. Antrim (Welch 1986) and Deramore in the Lagan Valley west of Belfast (1989). Colonisation of this new area appears to have occurred since about 1980, probably by natural spread from Scotland. 

Ecology

Mostly recorded inside houses (40% of records), in gardens, or on foliage in wet water margin pasture or scrub. Where trees are mentioned willow is the most common (5 records), then birch (2) and poplar(1). Riverine wetlands and gardens appear to be favoured though this may be simply a consequence of other habitats having been less well searched. Feeds on aphids.

Variation

The typical red/orange-coloured form is dominant, melanic (black) forms being uncommon. The black form quadrimaculata occurs sparingly in Belfast gardens.

*Mike Majerus images from UK Ladybird Survey